Find out how often should random testing take place from the DOT Publication Best Practices for Random Drug and Alcohol Testing.

What makes random testing so effective is the element of surprise.

While employees know they will be tested, they are never quite sure of when, so random selections and testing should be performed at least quarterly. This is guidance from the DOT, and not specifically in the regulations. At InOut Labs, we have a consortium designed for seasonal employers where no selections are made in Q1.

Some employers select and test more frequently, which is a good idea when it comes to how often should random testing take place.

In an effective random drug testing program, testing must be spread equally throughout the year.

Best practices: Here are smart things you can do to figure out when to test:

  • Spread testing dates reasonably throughout the year in a non-predictable pattern.
  • Conduct random drug tests anytime employees are on duty or while performing safety-sensitive duties. See your Agency regulations for your specific industry requirements of when to conduct testing. FRA has “hours of service” testing considerations.
  • Conduct random alcohol tests just before, during, or just after the employee performs a safety-sensitive job, as described in your industry specific regulations.
  • Each workday or weekend, you can enhance the non-predictability of your program by conducting tests at the start, middle, or end of each shift. The worse thing that could happen is for employees to say, “Yup, the last Friday of every month the second shift gets tested.”