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PHMSA - Oil & Gas, Pipeline Companies

PHMSA - Oil & Gas, Pipeline Companies

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has a mission to protect people and the environment by advancing the safe transportation of energy and other hazardous materials that are essential to our daily lives. This industry includes operators of gas, carbon dioxide pipelines, hazardous liquids, and liquified natural gas facilities. These employees are often working in dangerous surroundings, making drug abuse on the job even more concerning.

Considering prescription drug abuse in America along with changing cannabis laws, maintaining a drug-free workplace is paramount.

The PHMSA operates in a dynamic and challenging environment. The scope and complexity of the PHMSA’s safety mission will continue to grow, requiring that they fundamentally rethink how they will use data, information, and technology to achieve their safety goals.

The PHMSA takes impairment very seriously. In fact, in 2017, they announced that 2018 would see an increase in the number of employees they drug test at random — from 25% to 50% of all covered employees. A covered employee is a person who performs on a pipeline or liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility in an operation, maintenance, or emergency-response function.

This is on top of the changes to the Department of Transportation (DOT) drug testing, since the PHMSA is part of the DOT. One of the latest changes to DOT drug testing is a new panel that includes prescription opioids, in addition to illegal ones — a wise move, considering this country’s startling opioid epidemic that seems to only get worse.

Enrolling in a pipeline testing consortium that thoroughly understands the industry is crucial.

What is PHMSA Drug Testing?

The DOT PHMSA drug and alcohol testing regulations require operators, and their contractors, of natural gas and other gas pipeline transportation, hazardous liquids pipeline transportation, and liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipeline facilities to:

  • Have anti-drug and alcohol misuse prevention plans and programs applicable to persons who perform operating, maintenance, or emergency-response functions covered by the DOT pipeline safety regulations in 49 CFR Parts 192, 193 or 195.

Employers regulated by PHMSA must follow DOT drug and alcohol testing rules 49 CFR Part 40 and must also follow the specific PHMSA agency rule 49 CFR Part 199. US Drug Test Centers makes available services for complete compliance with Part 40 and Part 199. As a pipeline testing consortium, we’ll help you strictly adhere to DOT’s requirements.

Employees can be tested before securing employment, after they’ve had an accident, if there is reasonable suspicion, upon returning to work, and at random (but only for drug testing — not alcohol testing). Furthermore, any employee who fails or refuses to submit to DOT PHMSA drug testing can be required to fulfill random Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) follow-ups.

US Drug Test Centers is a pipeline testing consortium and third-party administrator. We know how crucial it is to maintain a drug-free work environment while staying compliant with DOT and PHMSA rules and regulations. We will help you manage your drug-free workplace. Contact us today to learn more, or you can learn more on our website about joining our pipeline testing consortium random drug testing.


Drug testing under 49 CFR Part 199, Subpart A

Drug Testing

Drug testing under 49 CFR Part 199, Subpart A, is to be conducted as follows:

  • Prior to employment, after an accident, randomly, upon reasonable cause, upon the return to duty, and;
  • Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) required random follow-ups, of an employee who fails or refuses a DOT drug test required under Part 199.

Alcohol testing under Part 199, Subpart B

Alcohol Testing

Alcohol testing under Part 199, Subpart B is to be conducted as follows:

  • After an accident, upon reasonable suspicion, upon the return to duty, and;
  • SAP required random follow-ups, of an employee who fails or refuses a DOT alcohol test required under Part 199.
  • There is no random alcohol testing under PHMSA Part 199

Required Testing

Definition of accident requiring testing: An accident is one involving gas pipeline facilities or LNG facilities or involving hazardous liquid or carbon dioxide pipeline facilities.

Many contractors work in the oil and gas-Pipeline industry. When the regulated employer utilizes applicable contractors or subcontractors who perform covered functions and conduct drug testing, education and training as part of the Anti-Drug Program [§199.115], but separate from the employer, verify that there is a process in place and implemented to ensure compliance with Part 199 and Part 40.

Compliance is very important for PHMSA operators and in fact auditing companies exist to make sure that every part of the program is in compliance. This starts with the written drug and alcohol testing policy. When the regulated employer utilizes third party providers who perform covered functions and conduct drug testing, education, training and other appropriate services as part of the Anti-Drug Program, the employer must verify that there is a process in place and implemented to ensure compliance [§40.341].

Required testing for PHMSA regulated employers and contractors include:

  • Pre-employment
  • Post-Accident Drug Testing
  • Random Drug Testing – drugs only, no alcohol
  • Reasonable Cause Drug Testing
  • Return to Duty Drug Testing
  • Follow-up Drug Testing

For reasonable suspicion testing the employer must verify that decisions to test are reasonable and articulable, and based on specific contemporaneous physical, behavioral or performance indicators of probable drug and alcohol use. Verify that at least two supervisors, one of whom is trained in detection of the symptoms of drug use, substantiate and concur in the decision to test an employee who is reasonably suspected of drug and alcohol use.

The PHMSA employees must have an established Employee Assistance Program either outsourced or in house. The employer must verify that an EAP is provided for its employees and supervisory personnel who will determine whether an employee must be drug tested based on reasonable cause. Each EAP must include education and training on drug use and alcohol abuse. Education under the EAP must at least the following elements: display and distribution of informational material; display and distribution of a community service hot-line telephone number for employee assistance; and display and distribution of the employer's policy regarding the use of prohibited drugs and alcohol. Training under the EAP for supervisory personnel who will determine whether an employee must be drug tested based on reasonable cause must include one 60-minute period of training on the specific, contemporaneous physical, behavioral, and performance indicators of probable drug use plus an additional 60-minute period of training on the specific, contemporaneous physical, behavioral, and performance indicators of probable alcohol use.

For drug and alcohol testing and assistance with required PHMSA required written policies for Anti-Drug and Alcohol Misuse Programs, call today your compliance experts at US Drug Test Centers.