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PHMSA - Oil & Gas, Pipeline Companies

PHMSA - Oil & Gas, Pipeline Companies

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) operates in a dynamic and challenging environment. The scope and complexity of their safety mission will continue to grow, requiring that they fundamentally rethink how they will use data, information, and technology to achieve their safety goals. PHMSA's mission is to protect people and the environment by advancing the safe transportation of energy and other hazardous materials that are essential to our daily lives.

The 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 follow also 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.

Covered employee: A person who performs on a pipeline or liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility an operation, maintenance, or emergency-response function.

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.