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Drugs besides alcohol are involved in roughly 16% of all motor vehicle crashes. (Source: CDC).
A reasonable suspicion test looks, in many ways, like a standard employee drug test. This can include breath and urine samples depending on the needs of the test. It is different from other tests in the way that it is initiated. Unlike random drug tests, which occur throughout the year at random times, reasonable suspicion tests can occur whenever a supervisor believes they are necessary.
There are many ways a supervisor can document reasonable suspicion. It is important to be thorough and detailed, making sure to highlight important observations that align with reasonable suspicion. This training provides an observation checklist that identifies key behaviors that supervisors can easily recognize once they have been properly trained.
Reasonable suspicion can only be carried out by supervisors of driving employees. An employee is not authorized to use reasonable suspicion on another employee. However, employees do have the right to inform their supervisor if they think another employee’s behavior may be cause for reasonable suspicion. The supervisor may then observe the employee and make the final call on whether reasonable suspicion is necessary.
It is ultimately the responsibility of the supervisor to initiate a reasonable suspicion test. Some supervisors may not feel confident in their own ability to recognize the signs of substance abuse in their employees. The purpose of this training is to give supervisors the confidence they need to identify crucial warning signs of substance abuse. It also helps them know what steps they should take to carry out the test efficiently and safely.
Supervisors do not personally administer the test to employees. Rather, it is the job of the supervisor to decide when a test is necessary. If the supervisor believes an employee should be tested, the test is carried out by a company-approved third party. Companies may also hire medical personnel for the purpose of conducting tests.
Supervisors cannot force employees to get tested for substance abuse. If an employee refuses to test, the supervisor must inform them of the consequences for refusal. Generally, refusal to test is automatically considered a test failure. Companies may have various policies on how to treat employee test refusals.
Supervisors always have the right to take employees off safety sensitive jobs until they have been tested. Employees suspected of substance abuse should never be allowed to drive commercial vehicles until the test results have come in. Until then the supervisor may keep the employee from working while following company policies regarding paid-time or compensation.