What is a DER? What are a DER’s responsibilities?
(TL;DR – DER Training Course)
The term DER comes from the government. The US Department of Transportation (49 CFR Part 40) defines Designated Employer Representative as follows:
Designated employer representative (DER). An employee authorized by the employer to take immediate action(s) to remove employees from safety‐sensitive duties, or cause employees to be removed from these covered duties, and to make required decisions in the testing and evaluation processes. The DER also receives test results and other communications for the employer, consistent with the requirements of this part. Service agents cannot act as DERs.
The DER’s Job Description
The focus here in on DOT-regulated employers, but 97.2% of it (plus or minus) applies to all employers who drug test.
If you are a DER, your job is to:
- Serve as the key point of contact (for employees, MRO and C/TPA) for the employer’s drug and alcohol testing program.
- Ensure written substance policy is provided to all employees (with signed acknowledgement).
- Ensure no employee performs safety-sensitive work until a negative drug test result is received. Coordinate with HR as needed.
- Receive drug and alcohol test results. Confidentiality is critical. This is why you are “Designated.”
- Notify interested parties (managers or donor him/herself) when there is positive test result. This includes donors who fail a pre-employment drug test and are not hired.
- Ensure employee with a positive test result (or other violation) is immediately removed from safety-sensitive work.
- Ensure that a donor with a violation is provided a list of Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) referrals (DOT), or whatever is required in company policy. This includes donors who fail a pre-employment drug test and are not hired. The RTD process is mandatory.
These are the minimums – required by Part 40.
DERs are also often involved in the following:
- Assist with policy development.
- Assist with job descriptions for safety-sensitive positions across the organization.
- Develop discipline policies (consequences) for policy violators.
- Ensure all random testing lists are updated prior to random selections.
- Ensure that randomly selected employees report immediately for a test. This is the “go now” requirement in the DOT regulations.
- Ensure all random testing requirements are met (or exceeded).
- Distribute educational and awareness material to employees (DOT requirement).
- Ensure all supervisors complete required Supervisor Training (Reasonable Suspicion).
- Ensure applicable drug and alcohol test records have been requested from previous employers for all new hires covered by DOT regulations (Section 40.25)
- Ensure Pre-Employment Clearinghouse Queries are conducted for each no FMCSA employee.
- Ensure Annual Limited Queries are conducted for all existing FMCSA employees.
- Ensure Consent for Annual Limited Query is signed by every FMCSA employee. (Learn about out InOut Labs Clearinghouse support here.)
- Ensure any requests for previous drug and alcohol checks have been completed with the required 30 days (40.25 checks)
- Obtain any applicable SAP records from previous employers. You may be responsible for follow up testing.
- Ensure reasonable suspicion and post-accident drug and/or alcohol tests are conducted in accordance with federal regulations or company policy
- Ensure all return-to-duty and follow-up testing is accomplished when necessary (and according to direct observation procedures)
That’s a LOT, isn’t it? Would a web course make it easier? Sure it would.