OSHA Required Medical Tests: Audiometric and Respiratory Testing

Audiometric and Respiratory Testing: OSHA Required Medical Tests

Audiometric and respiratory testing may be required for employment under OSHA 29 CFR

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) require pre-employment and annual medical testing for workers in various industries, including oil and gas, trucking, manufacturing, and more to ensure safe and healthy working conditions.

When it comes to employment, there are many different types of exams and testing that may be required under OSHA rules. The most common physical exams include:

  • work fitness assessment
  • fitness-for-duty exam
  • pre-employment physicals

Beyond exams, there are important occupational health tests that may be required for employment under OSHA 29 CFR, which include:

  • audiometric testing and
  • pulmonary function testing or respiratory testing

What is Audiometric Testing?

Audiometric testing is a test of a person’s ability to hear sounds and assists in monitoring an employee’s hearing over time and is OSHA required if the employer meets certain.

An audiometric testing follow-up program should indicate whether the employer’s hearing conservation program is preventing hearing loss and needs to be managed by a licensed or certified audiologist, otolaryngologist, or other physician. Both professionals and trained technicians may conduct audiometric testing.

There are two types of audiograms required in the hearing conservation program, which include, baseline and annual audiograms.

Baseline audiograms

The employer must retain the original baseline audiogram for the length of the employee’s employment. The professional may decide to revise the baseline audiogram if the employee’s hearing improves. This will ensure that the baseline reflects actual hearing thresholds to the extent possible.

Annual audiograms

Annual audiograms must be provided within 1 year of the baseline. It is important to test workers’ hearing annually to identify deterioration in their hearing ability as early as possible. This enables employers to initiate protective follow-up measures before hearing loss progresses.

Employers must compare annual audiograms to baseline audiograms to determine whether the audiogram is valid and whether the employee has lost hearing ability or experienced a standard threshold shift (STS). An STS is an average shift in either ear of 10 dB or more at 2,000, 3,000, and 4,000 hertz.

Employer OSHA Requirements

Under the OSH law, employers are required to maintain a safe workplace for all employees. Failure to do so can lead to serious fines and penalties.

Employers must:

  1. make audiometric testing available to all employees exposed to an action level of 85dB (decibels) or above, measured as an 8-hr time weighted average (TWA).
  2. maintain a Hearing Conservation Program to include monitoring, testing, follow-up, training and recordkeeping (regardless of the number of employees).document and keep noise exposure measurement records for 2 years and maintain records of audiometric test results for the duration of the affected employee’s employment.
    1. Audiometric test records must include:
      1. the employee’s name
      1. job classification,
      1. date
      1. examiner’s name
      1. date of the last acoustic or exhaustive calibration
      1. measurements of the background sound pressure levels in audiometric test rooms, and
      1. the employee’s most recent noise exposure measurement.

CNS provides baseline, periodic, and exit audiograms, as well as any follow-up testing and training at the employer’s request. Testing will be performed by trained technicians and the program will be overseen by an Audiologist or Physician.

CNS is able to assist with your Occupational Medicine needs, no matter the size of your company, call 888.260.9448 to talk to a specialist.

What is Pulmonary Function Testing (PFT) or Respiratory Testing?

A pulmonary function test or respiratory test is OSHA-mandated to determine if an employee can safely and effectively wear a respirator to protect the health of the employee against breathing airborne contaminants.

Before your employees use a respirator or are fit-tested, they must be medically evaluated and cleared by a licensed healthcare professional using a “Respirator Medical Evaluation Questionnaire.”

Employers must select a physician or other licensed healthcare professional (PLHCP), such as a registered nurse or physician’s assistant, to perform the medical evaluation and evaluate your health, specific job description, respirator type, and workplace conditions.

Some conditions that could prevent you from using a respirator include:

  • heart conditions
  • lung disease, and
  • psychological conditions, such as claustrophobia

An employees responses to the medical questionnaire are confidential and may not be shared with your employer.

When required by the PLHCP, additional follow-up testing may include a medical exam, additional questionnaire, PFT, EKG, chest x-ray, blood draw and urine sample.

What is Spirometry Testing?

Some occupational and personal exposures can accelerate this loss of function over time. Beyond the respirator medical evaluation, a spirometry breathing test shows how well you can move air in and out of your lungs. Periodic spirometry testing can be used to detect such accelerated losses.

Under OSHA 29 CFR PFT, spirometry testing is required in conjunction with the respirator fit test under certain circumstances to measure respiratory function.

Spirometry testing may be performed on workers who perform jobs that may cause exposure to possible lung hazards, are physically demanding, or require wearing a respirator. Spirometry is used to diagnose asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other conditions that affect breathing and is required for some workers by OSHA standards.

Before conducting spirometry testing, technician should interview the worker, review medical records, and possibly consult with the PLHCP to identify health conditions that may prevent the worker from safely performing maximal efforts in a spirometry test.

All respiratory testing will be performed by a PLHCP and/or trained technician and will provide you and your employer with a written recommendation (with no confidential information) that includes:

  • If you are medically able to wear the respirator and any medical limitations for using one;
  • If any follow-up medical evaluations are needed; and
  • A statement that the doctor or licensed healthcare professional has provided you with a copy of their written recommendation.

You must be re-evaluated when:

  • Reported medical signs or symptoms, such as a heart condition, lung disease, or claustrophobia;
  • A physician or licensed healthcare professional, supervisor, or the respirator program administrator informs your employer that you need to be re-evaluated;
  • The respiratory protection program indicates a need for you to be re-evaluated; or
  • A change occurs in workplace conditions that increases the burden on you while using the respirator.

CNS can help with employer OSHA and Occupational Medicine testing

CNS is able to assist with your OSHA and Occupational Medicine needs, no matter your company size. Our goal is to keep workers safe and healthy on the job, allowing you to continue the production that keeps your business running.

  • Individual and combined services available: Audiograms, respiratory and hazwoper physicals
  • DOT and non-DOT drug and alcohol consortiums
  • Drug and alcohol testing programs
  • Exposure testing and medical surveillance
  • Mobile Health Clinic available for on-site services
  • OSHA compliant physicals and exams
  • Pre-hire screenings
  • Pre-employment and DOT physicals
  • School bus driver physical exams
  • Vaccinations and flu shots
  • Workplace injury treatment and management

Our medical examiners are focused on best-in-class customer service when it comes to treating workers and employers to create long term health and wellness.

We can provide any of these services individually or build a custom plan for you or your company.

Learn more about Occupational Medicine here.

FMCSA Extends Expiring CDL and Medical Card Waiver

FMCSA has extended a temporary CDL and medical card waiver if expiring after March 1, 2020

CDL and Medical Card Waiver Extended Until Sept 30, Due To COVID-19

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has extended a temporary waiver that deals with expired commercial drivers licenses (CDLs) and medical cards after March 1st, 2020, due to the COVID-19 health emergency.

The extended waiver now gives drivers until September 30, 2020 to renew their commercial driver’s licenses, commercial learner’s permits and medical cards. This extension only applies to drivers whose CDL, CLP or medical card expired on or after March 1.

Additionally, drivers with an expired medical card are required to carry a paper copy of the expired medical card until it is renewed and drivers with DOT medical cards, issued for at least 90 days, that expire after March 1, 2020 may continue to operate without a new DOT physical exam.

The original temporary FMCSA waiver was set to expire June 30. However, the government recognized that state licensing facilities and medical offices performing DOT physicals may be closed or have restricted hours or staffing.

The FMCSA also issued an Enforcement Notice, explaining that it will “exercise its enforcement discretion to not take enforcement action” against drivers and motor carriers that fall under the terms of the waiver. However, we have seen some roadside enforcement still give violations out when drivers are meeting the waiver guidelines.

Compliance Navigation Specialists can help with DataQ’s, Call 888.260.9448 to talk to a specialist.

These incorrect violations can be challenged with the DataQ process and CNS can help. Our consultants are well-versed in the FMCSA rules and regulations, as well as what an officer is required to note on their report. Whether you would like our consultants to challenge one Data-Q, or review all roadside inspections monthly to report which violations are able to be challenged – we have a cost effect solution for your company.

Regarding accident reporting, each employer must notify FMCSA within 5 business days of an accident involving any driver operating under the terms of this waiver. For more information on accident reporting during the waiver, go to the FMCSA press release.

CNS collection sites and network of collection sites are open for DOT physicals and required drug and alcohol testing. Schedule a DOT physical or drug test by calling CNS today at 888.260.9448.


DOT Compliance Services

Simplify the entire physical, drug consortium and DQF process

Our complete Proactive Safety Management (PSM) program has been organized to get you through an FMCSA audit by managing your driver qualification files, drug consortium, Electronic Logging Devices (ELD), vehicle maintenance and more.

Whether you are a large trucking company that is onboarding drivers quickly or a construction outfit with multiple trucks in your fleet, you need to stay aware of FMCSA regulations.

If you have any questions, call (888) 260-9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.

2290 HVUT Due Date, August 31: No COVID-19 Delays

2290 HVUT filing begins July 1, due date August 31

2290 HVUT Filing Start July 1

Unlike many other tax deadlines, the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT) deadline has not been delayed due to the COVID-19 health emergency.

The IRS will begin accepting 2020-2021 Form 2290 on July 1 and all truck drivers with a vehicle that has a taxable gross weight of 55,000 pounds or more in America will need to file new tax returns by August 31 to renew their proof of Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT) payment.

In order to file heavy vehicle use tax 2290 online, you need the details of your business; including your business name, address (a sole proprietor can use their legal name and address), EIN (Employer Identification Number), and the details of an authorized signatory.

If you do not already have an EIN, CNS can help you obtain one.

You will also need your vehicle details, including the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) and the gross taxable weight.

Compliance Navigation Specialists can E-File your 2290 HVUT on your behalf. We will make it easy and quick to get your Schedule 1 prepared and reported with the IRS. The stamped Schedule 1 proof will be sent to your inbox right away.

We can file for you today for a total cost of $80. Fill out your 2290 form and contact us below.

E-File Your 2290 HVUT

Contact us with any questions. Our specialists can e-file your 2290 HVUT form on your behalf.

DOT Compliance Services

Simplify the entire physical, drug consortium and DQF process

Our complete Proactive Safety Management (PSM) program has been organized to get you through an FMCSA audit by managing your driver qualification files, drug consortium, Electronic Logging Devices (ELD), vehicle maintenance and more.

Whether you are a large trucking company that is onboarding drivers quickly or a construction outfit with multiple trucks in your fleet, you need to stay aware of FMCSA regulations.

If you have any questions, call (888) 260-9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.

FMCSA Extends Waiver for Pre-Employment Testing

FMCSA extends waiver for pre-employment testing

COVID-19 Pre-Employment Testing

As more businesses are opening back up from the COVID-19 health emergency, the FMCSA earlier this month extended a waiver for pre-employment testing that would reduce drug-testing costs as they rehire drivers.

Current regulations require that new-hire drivers must pass a pre-employment drug and alcohol test for controlled substances before they can perform safety-sensitive functions. These pre-employment drug tests are waived if the new-hire driver was part of a drug testing program within the previous 30 days and was either tested for controlled substances within the past six months or participated in the random controlled substances testing program for the previous 12 months.

This waiver has been extended from 30 days to 90 days and only valid when hiring drivers on or before September 30, 2020. This is basically extending the length of time a driver can be out of a random testing pool from 30 days to 90 days and be exempt from pre-employment testing if all criteria are met as stated in 382.301(b).

This is in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency where many employers have laid off, furloughed, or temporarily removed employees from safety-sensitive functions and removed from the random pool for controlled substances and alcohol testing for a period greater than 30 days.

According to the FMCSA, “As employers begin to recall drivers who were furloughed, laid off, or otherwise not working for the company for more than 30 days, the cost and logistical barriers of testing a large influx of drivers in a short timeframe are significant, at a time when the commercial trucking and motor coach industry is facing unprecedented economic challenges. This problem is further compounded by the reduced availability of controlled substance testing resources due to continued facility closures or other testing impediments caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency.”

CNS Collection Sites And Network Are Open For Drug Testing, Call 888.260.9448 to Schedule A Test Today

Employers must verify that the driver participated in the controlled substances testing specified and had no recorded violations of another DOT agency’s controlled substances use regulations within the previous 6 months. This requires a CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse detailed query.

Also, each employer must notify FMCSA within 5 business days of an involving any driver operating under the terms of this waiver. For more information on accident reporting during the waiver, go to the FMCSA press release.


DOT Compliance Services

Simplify the entire physical, drug consortium and DQF process

Our complete Proactive Safety Management (PSM) program has been organized to get you through an FMCSA audit by managing your driver qualification files, drug consortium, Electronic Logging Devices (ELD), vehicle maintenance and more.

Whether you are a large trucking company that is onboarding drivers quickly or a construction outfit with multiple trucks in your fleet, you need to stay aware of FMCSA regulations.

If you have any questions, call (888) 260-9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.

DOT physical exams and DOT medical cards: Common questions and issues

DOT Physical Exams | DOT Compliance | CNS

DOT physicals explained

Before a driver can get on the road, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires all drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) to pass a DOT physical exam.

A DOT physical, or CDL physical, is a test performed by a Certified Medical Examiner (CME) reviewing your general health, mental and emotional well-being and is a required by federal law for anyone driving a CMV.

DOT physicals are required to obtain a DOT medical card, which must be renewed at least every two years, showing that the driver has consistently been medically qualified to drive.

Passing a DOT physical exam ensures that CMV drivers are fully equipped to handle the physical demands of operating a commercial vehicle, such as the long driving hours, stress and exhausting schedules that go along with the job.

After passing you will receive a DOT medical card, which must be placed in the Driver Qualification File (DQF) and kept there for at least three years.

For CDL drivers, the federal medical card is temporary proof in the DQ file until a Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) is received, reflecting the newest exam. The MVR must be on file within 15 days of the exam, along with a note that you checked the NRCME database for the exam and both must be kept on file for three years.

For questions regarding driver files,
contact a DOT Compliance Specialist about Driver File Management.

What do examiners test during a DOT physical exam?

Before any testing is done, a CME must be chosen using the National Registry of CMEs online database. All examiners listed have been verified as fully qualified and having the required medical credentials  and complete knowledge of FMCSA regulations and the transportation industry.

Drivers must fill out a form—on-site or before-hand—detailing their current health, health history and a list of current medications.

Below are DOT physical exam requirements that are tested:

  1. Urinalysis
  2. Blood pressure/pulse rate
  3. Vision
  4. Hearing
  5. Physical exam (check body for abnormalities in over a dozen areas)

A DOT medical card is considered relevant and valid for up to 24 months, however, if the CME has concerns about the driver’s health, a medical card certificate could be issued for 3 months, 6 months, or however long they see fit to come back for their next required physical exam.

Automatic disqualifications if found during a DOT physical exam

According to federal regulation 49 CFR 391.41, there are specific medical disqualifications that will prevent the examiner from passing your DOT physical exam. These include:

  • Hearing loss
  • Vision loss (if not correctable 20/40 vision in both left or right eye)
  • Epilepsy
  • Insulin use to treat diabetes
  • If any habit-forming drugs are being taken, including narcotics and amphetamines

However, a driver can obtain an exemption for some of the automatic disqualifications.

For example, the FMCSA vision exemption program is for monocular vision and can be issued for a maximum of two years, to be renewed. To obtain this exemption, an ophthalmologist or optometrist must provide an annual medical and eye exam.

It is important to note that marijuana is still a schedule 1 drug federally. All safety-sensitive positions should not consume marijuana products or unregulated CBD oil products.

Non-CDL drivers of a CMV are not required to have a DOT drug test and many companies and drivers assume it is okay to consume marijuana in states where it is legal. However, the federal DOT health history form can cause an automatic disqualification when it comes to marijuana history.

There are two questions asking if the driver has used an illicit substance within that last two years, or if they have ever failed a drug test or been dependent on an illegal substance. Marking “yes” warrants either a federal drug test or an automatic disqualification. This can affect non-CDL drivers for construction, landscaping, local delivery, moving companies and more.

Some red flags leading to temporary disqualification include, but are not limited to:

  • Cardiovascular issues
    •  i.e. – Drivers having higher than acceptable likelihood of acute incapacitation from a cardiac event.
  • Psychological disorder
    •  i.e. – Drivers are experiencing a psychological or personality disorder (even in early stages) that can affect memory, reasoning, attention, or judgement.

What should I bring to my DOT physical exam?

In order for your DOT physical exam to go as smoothly as possible, arrive early and be prepared with any personal documents and information you might need, such as:

  • Medical Examination Report (also available on-site)
  • Driver’s license
  • DOT medical card (if applicable)
  • Medication list
  • Corrective lenses or hearing aids
  • Medical records, including recent lab results for Diabetes maintenance within the last year, cardiovascular testing results for heart conditions of any kind, and recent CPAP machine printout, if applicable

Where to get a DOT physical exam?

CNS offers DOT physical exams at our location in Lititz, PA with our Certified Medical Examiner (CME), and we also have mobile DOT physicals available in certain states.

Learn more about mobile DOT physicals
(Group volume discounts and mobile options available)

If you are a part of our Drug and Alcohol Consortium, we can assist in finding a location to obtain a DOT physical or drug test nationwide.

What to do after receiving a new DOT medical card

After receiving a DOT medical card—depending on state rules—the driver needs to take the certified document to the DMV within 15 to 30 days to update the medical expiration date or if the driver is applying for a CDL.

If we performed your DOT physical, our licensing team will attach the new medical card to your CDL license through PennDOT.

If any information on the medical card certificate in ineligible, inaccurate, or missing, the driver will receive a letter requiring the medical card to be corrected and faxed or emailed back to the DMV.

Employers must pull a Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) within 15 days of completing the certified driver physical exam. The DOT requires the medical card information at the DMV to be added to the MVR and is why an MVR must be pulled after each updated medical card.

The updated MVR is required to be placed in the driver qualification file and can be audited by the DOT. A non-CDL driver does not need an updated MVR after a new medical card is received. Instead, a copy of the medical card certificate needs to be on file for three years.

For questions about audits, contact a DOT Compliance Specialist about our DOT Audit services.


DOT Compliance Services

Simplify the entire physical, drug consortium and DQF process

Our complete Proactive Safety Management (PSM) program has been organized to get you through an FMCSA audit by managing your driver qualification files, drug consortium, Electronic Logging Devices (ELD), vehicle maintenance and more.

Whether you are a large trucking company that is onboarding drivers quickly or a construction outfit with multiple trucks in your fleet, you need to stay aware of FMCSA regulations.

If you have any questions, call (888) 260-9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.

COVID-19 Return to Work Plan: Antibody Testing and Temperature Screening

Return-to-Work Plans | DOT Compliance | CNS

What is your company’s Return to Work Plan?

As stay at home orders are being lifted across the country and employees start trickling back into the office or plants, it would be wrong to assume things will return to normal.

It is imperative that business owners take responsibility for protecting their employees and this can be accomplished by developing a Return to Work Plan for their organization.

In hotspots like New York, many are convinced they have already been exposed to and contracted COVID-19. However, the worse thing a person could do is assume they are immune because they believe that fever back in January was COVID-19.

This type of mentality makes a Return to Work Plan even more important.

What is a Return to Work Plan?

Basically, it means that businesses need to create a process and an environment that makes it safe for their employees to return to work.

Each Return to Work Plan will of course be unique to the company, but there are many similar concepts that can be implemented, including:

  • Antibody Testing
  • Pre-shift Temperature Screenings
  • How often will employees be checked?
  • Will employees return on a gradual basis?
  • Are there plans for cleaning of work areas?
  • Are there plans for keeping employees at a distanced?
  • Will face masks be required?

There is a much longer list  of rules and procedures that business owners can follow, but our focus is on the two that will assist in determining if employees are safe to be at work, Antibody Testing and Pre-shift Temperature Screenings.

What is COVID-19 Antibody Testing?

The COVID-19 Antibody Test provides individuals insight into whether they have been exposed to coronavirus and developed antibodies. This could be invaluable information for your company and assist in many decisions related to those employees who have developed immunity.

According to the US Food and Drug Administration, COVID-19 antibody testing may indicate whether “the person has been exposed to the virus and developed antibodies against it, which may mean that person has at least some immunity to the coronavirus.”

However, it is important to note that the length of protection and whether the antibodies protect from re-infection is unknown at this point.

On May 7, a New York Times article detailed a new study that “adds evidence of immunity among those who have already been exposed to the disease, regardless of age, sex or severity of illness – making antibodies to the virus.” Experts were shocked by the percentage of people who have antibodies that were never diagnosed with coronavirus.

How is Antibody Testing useful for employers?

While the science on COVID-19 is evolving, testing for antibodies may help identify individuals who have likely been exposed. This information is helpful to make informed decisions about their risk of infection and spreading the virus in the workplace.

This is useful for employers as staff who are immune could replace vulnerable individuals, especially in high-transmission settings in the transportation industry, building a “shield immunity” in the population.

As of this writing, the Center for Health Security has provided a list of tests approved for research or individual use in the US that accurately detect antibodies in people who have them between 82 and 100 percent of the time. Their ability to correctly identify antibodies only in those who actually have them ranges from 91 to 100 percent.

It may take up to 14 days after the onset of symptoms for antibodies to be developed within the body and 91% of people develop such antibodies within the first 8-13 days. Some of those infected with COVID-19 will never exhibit symptoms, but will have a detectable antibody response.

Who is a candidate for Antibody Testing?

Antibody testing is not intended for use in individuals with an active COVID-19 infection, including individuals with symptoms. Patients who believe they may have COVID-19 are strongly encouraged to contact their healthcare provider.

All interested persons who have neither felt feverish in the last 3 days nor experienced any other COVID-19 symptoms within the past 10 days are appropriate candidates. Symptoms include:

  • loss of smell or taste
  • shortness of breath
  • dry cough
  • feeling weak or lethargic
  • lightheadedness or dizziness
  • vomiting or diarrhea
  • slurred speech
  • seizures

To protect collection site staff, please remember to wear either a face mask or some other form of face covering, when arriving at the laboratory collection site.

What are COVID-19 Pre-Shift Temperature Screenings?

Pre-Shift Temperature Screenings simply means that you will be screening each crew member and staff when they are reporting for duty, thereby reducing the risk to other employees.

If your employees have direct contact with someone who is ill or otherwise vulnerable populations, you want to know right away to prevent any spreading to other staff members.

Temperature screenings would be useful to continue using on all employees or those that have tested negative for antibodies.

Learn more about:
COVID-19 Services and Pre-shift Temperature Screenings


How can CNS help?

At CNS, we know how difficult it is as a business owner to determine what steps need to be taken, so we are assisting employers in getting their Return to Work Plans started by implementing our COVID-19 Antibody Tests and Pre-Shift Temperature Screenings.

Our Antibody test is a blood test identifying the presence of antibodies which indicate a person’s immune response to COVID-19. Positive results indicate that an individual may have had previous exposure to COVID-19 and their body has developed antibodies.

If you have any questions, call (888) 260-9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.

DOT SAP and Return-to-Duty Process

DOT SAP and Return-to-Duty Process | DOT Compliance | CNS

What is the return-to-duty and follow-up DOT SAP process?

After a driver receives a failed drug test result, they must begin the return-to-duty process in order to get back on the road, and then continue a follow-up testing process for the next 12+ months.

It is more evident today for employers and drivers to understand this SAP process. In the first two months, the new DOT Clearinghouse has calculated over 11,000 drivers found with a positive drug test result. These employees are now walking through the SAP and return-to-duty process before they can begin safety-sensitive functions.

This process begins with an evaluation of a substance abuse professional, as required in the federal regulations in 49 CFR Part 40 Subpart O.

Learn more about:
FMCSA Clearinghouse: What is it, common issues and FAQs

What is a DOT SAP?

The Substance Abuse Professional, or “SAP”, according to the DOT, is “a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.”

The SAP makes the important decisions on whether or not an employee is ready to drive a truck, school bus, oil tanker, train, airplane, subway car, or other regulated vehicles and how long the follow-up testing end education program should take.

How much does a DOT SAP program cost?

There are several different ways to evaluate the cost of the SAP process. There is the initial SAP examination fee, the education program, the DOT return-to-duty drug test, and the 6+ follow-up testing program.

Unfortunately, the length of the follow-up testing program can be 12 months to 5 years, depending on the SAPs recommendation. So it is hard to estimate a total cost.

On average, the SAP evaluation process can cost between $400 to $500. Drug tests average between $30 to $60 dollars each. The minimum SAP and follow-up testing program can cost an employer or the driver, depending on the company policy of who pays for the program, to be at least $700 for the first year.

How long is the DOT SAP program?

Each SAP program is customized for the person going through it, which can cause a wide range of time when estimating the length of a SAP program. However, this process can be split into two major sections: the time to return-to-duty, and the time to finish the follow-up testing program.

First, there is the SAP evaluation and return-to-duty process so a driver can get back to safety-sensitive functions. This process includes finding a qualified DOT SAP, the SAP evaluation, the SAP talking to a physician if the driver is convinced that a prescription could have caused a false-positive drug test, the length of time to finish an education treatment program,  the second SAP evaluation after completing the program, and passing a return-to-duty drug test. This whole process can take weeks to months to finish.

Second, there is the follow-up testing program. According to the regulations, the SAP is required to recommend a minimum of 6 unannounced observed drug tests in the first 12 months after returning to duty. However, the SAP can recommend a program of follow-up drug tests for as long as 5 years. A repeated failed or refused test could require the process to be started all over.

What is the DOT return-to-duty process?

Before an employee can return to duty for safety-sensitive functions, they must complete the return-to-duty process. Once a positive test result is found, the following steps are required:

  • Immediately remove the employee from safety-sensitive
  • Find a qualified DOT SAP and complete an initial SAP evaluation
  • Finish a SAP recommended education or treatment program
  • When finished, complete a second SAP evaluation
  • If the SAP report is good, complete a return-to-duty observed drug test

Once the DER receives the negative result, the employee can begin safety-sensitive functions again.

However, after the second SAP evaluation, a follow-up testing schedule is given to the DER. The follow-up testing schedule is a minimum of 6 unannounced observed drug tests within the first 12 months of returning to safety-sensitive work and can last up to 60 months, or five years, depending on the SAP recommendation. 


If you have any questions, call (888) 260-9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.

What is the FMCSA Clearinghouse? Common issues and FAQs

What is the FMCSA Clearinghouse? | DOT Compliance Services | CNS

What is the FMCSA Clearinghouse?

On January 6, 2020, the FMCSA launched the FMCSA Clearinghouse, an online database where CDL driver drug and alcohol testing violations and return-to-duty information will be stored and searched.

The purpose of the FMCSA Clearinghouse is to prevent job hopping of CDL drivers with positive drug and alcohol test results, refusal to test or information on a driver’s return-to-duty process.

DOT Clearinghouse: Employers and CDL Drivers

There are many new procedures that drivers, employers, consortium/TPAs and others must follow with the FMCSA Clearinghouse now in effect for pre-employment, random testing and return-to-duty processes.

Employers of CDL drivers must follow a new drug testing process when hiring a potential new driver before a pre-employment drug test can be done at a collection site.

What is required of employers?

  1. Before the new hire driver can be tested, the employer needs to:
    • make sure the driver is registered to the FMCSA Clearinghouse,
    • then request electronic driver consent to run a detailed query,
    • run a query on the driver (employer or C/TPA), and
    • ensure no recent negative drug testing history is present

After the detailed query is done, the pre-employment drug test can continue as part of the pre-employment new-hire process.

  1. Employers must query the Clearinghouse and request 3 years of drug and alcohol testing history until January 6, 2023.
    • After that, the clearinghouse query will replace the need for employer requests.
  1. Employers must run annual limited queries for current drivers at least once a year.
    • If the limited query returns any results, a detailed query is required.

What is required of CDL drivers?

There are 3 reasons why CDL drivers need to register to the DOT clearinghouse:

  1. drivers are changing employers
    • registering allows employers to run queries to gather useful information during the hiring process
  2. drivers are registering with an SAP after a violation, and
  3. currently employed drivers are giving consent for an annual query

Let us know how we can help:
Ask us about our Drug and Alcohol Services

FMCSA Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse FAQ

Is the FMCSA Clearinghouse mandatory?

Yes, it is mandatory if your business is governed by the FMCSA.

Information in the FMCSA Clearinghouse database will include:

  1. positive drug and alcohol test results
  2. refusal to test, and/or
  3. information on CDL driver’s return-to-duty process
    • if the CMV has a gross weight greater than 26,000 pounds, has more than 15 seatbelts or is hauling anything requiring DOT HAZMAT placards.

Who must register for the FMCSA clearinghouse?

Registration is mandatory for authorized users so they are able to access the Clearinghouse database and the information mentioned above.

Authorized users include:

  • Drivers holding a commercial driver’s license (CDL) or commercial learner’s permit (CLP)
  • Employers of CDL drivers. This includes those who employ themselves as CDL drivers (i.e. – owner-operators)
  • Consortia/Third-Party Administrators (C/TPAs)
  • Medical Review Officers (MROs)
  • Substance Abuse Professionals (SAPs)

Violations can occur if:

  • annual driver queries are not performed in a timely manner
  • required information is not loaded into the database, or
  • if pre-employment drug tests are performed before a new hire gives consent for a detailed query

Note: CMV drivers are not required to immediately register for the clearinghouse; however, they will need to register to respond to pre-employment queries or other full queries.


How do CDL drivers register for the FMCSA Clearinghouse?

To register, or for assistance registering, drivers can go to the
DOT Clearinghouse website for instructions.

How do employers register for the FMCSA Clearinghouse?

To register, or for assistance registering, employers can go to the
DOT Clearinghouse website for instructions.


FMCSA Clearinghouse registration issues

The FMCSA Clearinghouse registration process faced many issues when first launched, most of which are now fixed.

Some of the common issues that employers or owner-operators may face when registering include:

  1. Companies have set up their FMCSA Portal account and do not remember their user-ID, security questions, or email address on the account.
    • Solution: Call the FMCSA to prove who they are before gaining access.
  2. Companies have not set-up an FMCSA Portal account and forgot their DOT Pin number.
    • Solution: Fill out a form to request their pin.
    • If you are a carrier before 2010, and there is an old email or no email or phone number, the government will have to mail your DOT Pin number, taking 7-10 business days.
  3. Owner-operators seeing errors preventing query purchases is most likely because they are seen as the “employer” and the “driver” and are stuck in the “driver” role.
    • Issue: If you hover over “My Dashboard” and see “Queries” and click “Buy”, an error can pop up.
    • Solution: To get around this, look for the dark blue text that says “Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse”, click there. This sort of refreshes your dashboard and you should now see an option to “Change Your Role”. You need to change your role from “Driver” to “Employer”. Now, you can hover over “My Dashboard”, and click “Buy” where it says queries.

FMCSA Clearinghouse Problems, Hiring Delays and Violations

With any major regulatory rollout, there are always unforeseen issues or new problems that appear.

Some of these problems include:

  1. January 2021, Clearinghouse website may crash again.
    • Early Clearinghouse registration issues led officials to advise employers to wait to register until December 2020 or January 2021. Consequently, a large spike in DOT Clearinghouse web traffic is expected as companies rush to register and submit annual queries to the DOT Clearinghouse before the deadline.
  2. FMCSA Clearinghouse will catch drivers at roadside.
    • According to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, starting April 1, 2020, drivers who are prohibited from driving—per the CDL Clearinghouse—will immediately be put out-of-service by CVSA roadside enforcement inspectors and employers will need to arrange for another driver to pick up the load.
  3. Hiring driver process issues:
    • Employer sends a consent request, but the driver has not registered to the Clearinghouse to authorize consent.
      • FMCSA will mail a letter to the driver regarding the consent request (2-3 week process)
    • Employer falsely tells a drug testing site that driver consent was given. If audited, the employer can be held at fault if the violation of no consent was caught, causing delays in the pre-employment testing process, headaches for companies and drug testing sites not up-to-date on Clearinghouse rules.
  4. What happens if you fail or refuse a DOT drug screen?
    • In the first 2 months the DOT Clearinghouse was in effect, over 11,000 drivers were found with a positive drug test and must begin the return-to-duty and SAP process before getting back on the road.

Learn more about:
DOT SAP and Return-To-Duty Process


Drug and Alcohol Services

Do you need help registering to the FMCSA Clearinghouse or looking to switch to a trusted drug testing consortium?

At CNS, we offer a comprehensive Drug and Alcohol Consortium Service and are a certified consortium and third-party administrator (C/TPA).

If you have any questions, call (888) 260-9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.

2020 FMCSA Hours of Service changes: Effective as early as September

2020 Hours of Service Rules | DOT Compliance Services | CNS

In response to the HOS issues highlighted during the ELD mandate rollout, and in an effort to improve safety and flexibility to CMV drivers, the FMCSA has moved into the final stages of publishing the new hours-of-service rule changes.

In August of 2019 the FMCSA released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) related to the hours of service rules and regulations and were also taking public comment on the DOT hours-of-service proposal.

On March 2, 2020, the FMCSA announced that they have filed the rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which is one of the final steps before the rule is published in the Federal Register.

When will the HOS rule take effect?

FMCSA Acting Administrator, Jim Mullen, announced Thursday, May 14, 2020 that the rule should be published in the Federal Register in the coming week and the changes will become effective 120 days after that.

During this time, ELD providers will have to implement software changes to reflect the new hours of service rules.

If the new rules are published next week, and ELD providers are given enough time to make the necessary changes, drivers could begin operating under the new HOS regulations in September 2020.

What are the new hours of service rules?

There are 4 major changes to be included in the hours of service reforms:

  1. Short-haul exception: Changes will lengthen the current 100 air-mile exemption of the drivers’ maximum on‑duty period from 12 to 14 hours, and extending the short-haul radius from 100 air-miles to 150 air-miles, to be consistent with the 150 air-mile exemption of trucks with a GVWR of 26,000 lbs. or less.
  2. Adverse driving conditions exception: Changes will extend both their drive-time limit and their on-duty window by 2 hours if they encounter adverse conditions such as weather or traffic congestion.
    • According to the FMCSA, the provision will allow drivers to either sit and wait out the conditions or to slowly drive through them with caution.
  3. 30-minute break requirement: Changes will allow drivers to satisfy the required break using on-duty (not driving status) rather than off-duty, and requiring it within their first 8 hours of drive time, rather than their first 8 hours on-duty.
    • For example, if you are on-duty refueling your truck and it takes 30 minutes, this could qualify as your 30-minute rest break.
  4. Sleeper berth exception: Changes will allow more flexibility for drivers to split the required 10 hours off-duty into two periods.
    • 7 and 3 split: Must contain at least 7 consecutive hours, either off duty or in the sleeper berth, the shorter period will pause the rolling on-duty clock.
    • 8 and 2 split: Cannot be less than 2 consecutive hours, either off duty or in the sleeper berth, the shorter period will pause the rolling on-duty clock.

Unlike the proposal issued last August, the hours of service changes do not include the option for drivers to pause their 14-hour clock for up to three hours while off-duty to extend the 14-hour clock.

Mullen said the agency deemed the seven-hour, three-hour split “sufficiently flexible” to that end, given with the new change the shorter period in any sleeper split will in fact stop the rolling duty clock, unlike the current split-sleeper rules.


What does this mean for fleets and truck drivers?

These changes provide an important time for fleets to update their driver training. CNS offers a variety of in-person and online training courses for the specific needs or weaknesses of your company or its’ drivers.

Fleets that incorporate training alongside driver qualification, drug testing and fuel tax management can create a complete picture of fleet safety.

Our complete safety program—Proactive Safety Management (PSM) Program—will complement or become your current safety department, without the cost of employing the many staff members it takes to run an effective safety program.

If you have any questions, call (888) 260-9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.

COVID-19 Temperature Checks: Prescreening Truck Drivers and Staff

COVID-19 Temperature Screenings | DOT Compliance Services | CNS

Prescreening temperature checks:
What are they and why are they important?

The trucking industry will be dealing with the coronavirus, or COVID-19, for the long haul, which is why prescreening temperature checks are so important.

Until a vaccine has been found, approved and mass produced and distributed, fleets and distribution sites will need to find ways to keep their drivers and facilities safe from potential exposure.

Earlier this month, the president of the Owner Operator Independent Driver Association (OOIDA), Todd Spencer, expressed concern that “once word spreads that drivers are testing positive, we could very well see a tremendous reduction in drivers willing to risk everything for the rest of us.”

Spencer believes there should be greater efforts made to provide drivers with personal protective equipment, which hopefully helps them avoid infection and stay on the job.

Truck drivers working from home?

Unfortunately, truck drivers cannot work from home and with more than 1.8 million CMV truck drivers in America, the potential for exposure is high.

For anyone that is exposed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released guidance for essential workers—including those in trucking—allowing them to continue work provided they are asymptomatic and take additional precautions to protect themselves and the community.

Potential exposure means having close contact within 6 feet of an individual with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, including the 48 hours before the individual became symptomatic.

This guidance was in response to several states and local cities, such as Ohio, Delaware, San Francisco, and Santa Clara County, who urged or required temperature checks before employees are permitted to report to work.

Truck drivers face greater risk of illness

Several factors put truck drivers at greater risk of being exposed and/or contracting the coronavirus, including nationwide travel, handling of overseas goods, exposure at truck stops for meals and showers and multiple facility stops.

Besides the greater risk of contact with the coronavirus, according to a 2014 study by the CDC, drivers may also be at greater risk of falling ill from the virus.

The study showed more than half of truck drivers smoke and are two times as likely to have diabetes as the rest of the population. These health factors put them in a higher risk category should they contract

Why are pre-shift temperature screenings important?

Screening each fleet driver and staff when they are reporting for duty ensures less risk to other employees. If your staff has direct contact with someone who is ill or otherwise vulnerable, it is important to catch it ahead of time to prevent spreading to other staff members.

With frequent facility stops, it is nearly impossible for drivers to know if they have been within 6 feet of someone who has been exposed to coronavirus. The best practice in this situation is to implement CDC’s guideline of pre-screen temperature checks for your entire fleet and staff.

Do not risk the health or your employees or your business. Follow these best practices when implementing temperature screenings:

  1. Communicate with your employees clearly before temperature checks are implemented
  2. Administer screening questionnaires to get a better idea of potential exposures
  3. Set a temperature test limit, preventing any employees to enter the workplace if exceeded
    • The CDC considers a person to have a fever when temperature is at least 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
  4. Set-up temperature testing in the least invasive way possible, ideally with devices that can register temperature without exposure to bodily fluids.  
  5. Appoint someone with proper training, such as CNS on-site staff, to facilitate or administer on-site temperature checks.
  6. Maintain social distancing guidelines with your temperature check station.

Are you concerned for your staff and drivers about COVID-19 exposure?

We offer on-site pre-shift screenings, screening questionnaires and temperature screenings for your distribution site, terminal, construction site or office.

We will also be offering antibody testing soon, which will allow employers insight into employee exposure to COVID-19 and whether or not they have developed antibodies.

If you think your business may be a candidate for prescreening temperature checks, you can contact us now or learn more about our COVID-19 services.


If you have any questions, call (888) 260-9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.