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PHMSA Raises Random Drug Testing Rate to 50% for 2018

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration announced December 8, 2017 that during calendar year 2018, the minimum random drug testing rate will be increased to 50%. Operators of gas, hazardous liquid, and carbon dioxide pipelines and operators of liquefied natural gas facilities must randomly select and test a percentage of … Continue Reading

U.S. Department of Transportation Publishes Guidance For Updating Drug and Alcohol Testing Policies

The drug testing panel utilized by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s operating agencies will change on January 1, 2018. (Click here to read our blog post on that change).  DOT published guidance on December 1, 2017 to assist employers with regard to updating their drug and alcohol testing policies.  The guidance states as follows: “The … Continue Reading

U.S. Department of Transportation Expands Its Drug Testing Panel Effective January 1, 2018

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced in a rule published in the Federal Register on November 13, 2017, that, among other revisions to its drug and alcohol testing regulations, it will expand its drug testing panel to include four “semi-synthetic” opioid drugs: hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone and oxymorphone.  These changes are being made to harmonize DOT’s … Continue Reading

New Federal Railway Administration Requirements For Maintenance-Of-Way Workers Take Effect June 12, 2017

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration’s (“FRA”) final rule expanding drug and alcohol testing to maintenance-of-way (“MOW”) employees takes effect on June 12, 2017. MOW employees are “employees of a railroad, or of a contractor to a railroad, whose duties include inspection, construction, maintenance or repair of railroad track, bridges, roadway, signal and … Continue Reading

DOT To Add Synthetic Opioids To Its Drug Testing Panel

Today the U.S. Department of Transportation published a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register in which it proposes to amend its drug testing program regulation to add four synthetic opioids (hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone and oxycodone) to its drug testing panel. DOT also proposes to add methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA) as an initial test analyte, and … Continue Reading

FMCSA Finalizes Rule On National Drug and Alcohol Testing Clearinghouse

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced a final rule on December 2, 2016 establishing a national drug and alcohol clearinghouse database for commercial motor vehicle drivers. This new database will contain information pertaining to violations of the DOT’s drug and alcohol testing regulations for holders of commercial driver’s licenses.  Although … Continue Reading

OSHA Publishes Guidance For Conducting Post-Accident Drug And Alcohol Testing Without Violating The Electronic Recordkeeping Rule’s Retaliation Provision

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration published a memorandum on October 19, 2016 that explains statements made about post-accident drug and alcohol testing in its commentary to the Electronic Recordkeeping Rule, i.e., “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses,” which was published in May.  Among other things, the rule prohibits retaliation against employees who report … Continue Reading

DEA Classifies U-47700, or “Pink”, As A Schedule I Drug

The Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) announced September 7, 2016 that it intends to temporarily schedule the synthetic opioid known as U-47700 on Schedule I of the federal Controlled Substances Act because it poses an imminent hazard to the public safety. A final scheduling order will be made on or after October 7, 2016.  Schedule I … Continue Reading

FDA Warns Against Mixing Opioid Medications and Benzodiazepines

As part of the federal government’s efforts to address the opioid abuse epidemic, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) issued a safety announcement on August 31, 2016, advising against the mixture of opioid medications and benzodiazepines. Specifically, a FDA review found that combining opioid medicines with benzodiazepines or other drugs that depress the central … Continue Reading

DEA Intends to Classify Kratom as a Schedule I Drug

The Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) announced August 30, 2016 that it intends to add the opioids Mitragynine and 7-Hydroxymitragynine, also known as Kratom, to the list of Schedule I drugs under the federal Controlled Substances Act because Kratom poses an imminent hazard to public safety. Kratom is a tropical tree indigenous to Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, … Continue Reading

DEA Denies Petitions To Reschedule Marijuana But Will Authorize More Marijuana Manufacturing To Foster Research

The federal Drug Enforcement Administration announced August 11, 2016 that it denied two petitions to reschedule marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). In addition, DEA announced a policy change designed to foster research by expanding the number of DEA-registered marijuana manufacturers, and issued a statement of principles concerning industrial hemp. The CSA categorizes drugs … Continue Reading

OSHA Announces 3-Month Delay in Enforcement of Electronic Recordkeeping Rule’s Retaliation Provision

Yesterday, OSHA announced that it would delay the effective date of one portion of the final rule, “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses” also known as the Electronic Recordkeeping rule. Specifically, OSHA has delayed enforcement of the anti-retaliation provision, 1904.35(b)(1)(iv), from August 10, 2016 until November 1, 2016.  Section 1904.35(b)(1)(iv) states, “[employers] must not discharge or … Continue Reading

Federal Railroad Administration Expands Drug and Alcohol Testing For Maintenance-Of-Way Workers

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (“FRA”) recently announced a final rule expanding drug and alcohol testing applicable to maintenance-of-way (“MOW”) employees, effective one year from the date of the rule’s publication (which has yet to be announced). MOW employees work directly on and around railway tracks and crossings, maintaining the tracks, bridges, … Continue Reading

What OSHA’s Electronic Recordkeeping Rule Means For Workplace Post-Accident Drug and Alcohol Testing

Today, OSHA’s final electronic recordkeeping rule, “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses,” was published in the Federal Register.  A detailed discussion of the rule can be found here on our OSHA Law Blog.  In the final rule OSHA states that “blanket post-injury drug testing policies deter proper reporting” and concludes that: “the final rule does … Continue Reading

EEOC Sues Employer Who Allegedly Refused to Hire Methadone User

In the last three years, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed numerous lawsuits against employers who take adverse actions against applicants and employees who use prescription medications. In accordance with that trend, EEOC filed suit on November 3, 2015 against an employer who purportedly refused to hire a recovering drug addict using methadone, alleging … Continue Reading
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