A TPA or a C/TPA, or Consortium/Third Party Administrator manages all or part of your company’s non-DOT or DOT drug and alcohol testing program.
A comprehensive TPA also helps you create drug-free workplace programs and stays on top of any changes to federal laws for you. Simply put, a good TPA makes the intimidating process of compliance easier.
Employer DOT Drug Testing Responsibilities
Under DOT Rule 49 CFR Part 40, all company officials, representatives, and agents, and service agents must also meet the DOT requirements.
Remember, you must only use DOT forms for DOT tests.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires a minimum of 50% of employees to undergo random drug testing and 10% random alcohol testing.
Requirements To Hire A TPA?
Businesses that fall under the safety-sensitive category may run their own testing programs in-house. However, facility and collection processes must meet DOT drug testing regulations and managing that on your own can be exhausting.
When you hire a TPA that’s fully trained in DOT regulations and compliance. TPAs specialize in DOT and FMCSA drug and alcohol testing regulations and stay on top of changes for you.
The following industries must enforce drug & alcohol testing:
- The U.S. Coast Guard
- Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
- Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
- Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)
- Federal Transit Administration (FTA)
- Department of Defense
- Nuclear Regulatory Commission(NRC)
An occupational health company, like a medical clinic, might seem to be a convenient drug and alcohol screening partner. Many safety-sensitive jobs require a physical, usually done in a clinic. It may seem convenient to let the clinic perform the drug/alcohol test as well.
However, drug and alcohol testing aren’t their primary focus, occupational health clinics focus on health and wellness. As a result, your employees will most likely face long wait times for testing and a under trained staff.
Usually, a lower-level employee administers the test, not a medical professional. You need to ask if they are DOT qualified; if they’re not, they aren’t usually up to speed with DOT drug testing regulations. These types of companies are not the best choice for managing your drug and alcohol programs.
A TPA that only focuses on drug/alcohol testing and drug-free workplace policies has been well trained in DOT drug and alcohol collections.
Hiring a TPA (Third Party Administrator) to manage your drug and alcohol testing program can be stressful not knowing if they are qualified and usually with a smaller company you aren’t just a number, particularly when it comes to regulation-based testing. Before you make that big decision, consider the following 6 simple questions that can help you properly hire a great TPA for the least amount of money.
Will I Be Able To Get A Hold of Someone Who Can Answer My Question?
Your time is valuable, so this is important when managing employees and resolving questions and issues quickly.
Will I have 24-Hour Access To Services In An Emergency Situation?
Look for a TPA that provides 24-hour collection services. Employees involved in a workplace accident must be tested as soon as possible. Knowing who to call and that you can call at any hour any day takes the pressure off your supervisors in a stressful situation.
Will I be able to get ahold of someone during business hours or will I have to wait days?
Your non-emergency questions are still important, so you should expect a quick response from your TPA.
A TPA’s job is to keep you up-to-date on compliance changes and make sure you are within regulations, via email, phone call, text; whatever it takes.
Having a large network is vital in keeping up with regulation requirements. Also, you don’t need more than one TPA for different business locations.
Will All My Drug Testing Be Federal & State Compliant?
Your TPA absolutely Should be doing everything to keep you compliant.
Electronic CCF forms?
Paper forms are quickly disappearing; make sure you have a TPA that is up to date with the latest innovations in technology!
Keeping Up with the Regulations
CDS knows that keeping up with regulatory changes at state and federal agencies can be overwhelming, not to mention the legislation facing industries on issues like legalizing marijuana.
Drug testing policies need to change with time and our commitment is to know what is happening and help you keep your policies up to date. CDS can manage your testing programs and ensure complete compliance with your policy.
Customer Service Is Our Priority
Your time is valuable. When you’re looking for a drug and alcohol TPA you’re looking for expertise, but most importantly, you need to receive the answers and assistance you need in a timely manner. At CDS we want to make sure you are in good hands when it comes to your drug and alcohol program.