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Types of DOT Drug and Alcohol Training for Employers

By Andrew David Easler, Esq.

DOT regulated companies face significant requirements in the realm of drug and alcohol training. Because employees in safety-sensitive positions have significant responsibilities to provide safe transport to their customers, it is essential that they are fully trained in the ramifications of drug and alcohol use on the job. There are several types of DOT drug and alcohol training mandated for companies in the transportation sector, including aviation firms, taxicab companies, bus and train operators, boat operators, and more.

Supervisor Training

One of the most important types of DOT drug and alcohol training is supervisor training, also known as reasonable suspicion training. This is a 120-minute course mandated by the DOT for all supervisors in transportation companies. It teaches more than just how to identify potential drug and alcohol use in the workplace, though. It also teaches supervisors how to enforce company policies in this area, as well as how to help employees suffering from dependency or addition to finding professional counseling or therapy.

General Employee Training

DOT companies must train their general employees as well as their supervisors. General employee training is briefer than supervisor programs, usually constituting just 60 minutes, although the DOT recommends adding an additional 60-minute program to the mix as an industry best practice. The only mandatory course is drug awareness, but alcohol awareness programs help employees understand how this legal substance can cause serious problems in the workplace, including injuries and even fatalities.

Methods of Training Delivery

DOT drug and alcohol training can be delivered in a number of ways. The DOT specifies that companies need to do no more than “provide employees and supervisors with required information”. This might be in the form of an informational packet, or it could be an in-house seminar. Recently, online courses have become more popular, as it allows all employees and supervisors to go through the same training without having to close the business for the purpose.

Online course delivery is beneficial in a number of other ways as well. For instance, it is more affordable than in-house training programs, and it is more scalable, allowing as many or as few employees as necessary to train at one time. It’s also easy to upgrade and change training as new DOT guidelines are imposed (an essential consideration for staying in compliance with federal laws).

DOT drug and alcohol training is more than a good idea – it’s a requirement for transportation companies

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