By Sharon Bottcher

Acronym Confusion

Is it JMO or are DER’s confused by all the DOT and NON-DOT DFWP acronyms?  IDK but IIRC there are all kinds of acronyms in the DT industry that can complicate the ability to successfully understand and manage a DFWP.  JW R U an individual that is IOYH or do u KIA?

I think you get the point.   Not only are acronyms hugely widespread in our industry, but they are used in everyday communications, from work to play, in person or on social networks.  Recently, the subject of terminology and acronyms has come up a lot and our goal is to focus on clarifying the common drug testing terms.

Essential Drug Testing Acronyms

There are several service agents and entities involved in the testing process, including:

  • Third Party Administrators (TPAs),
  • Medical Review Officers (MROs),
  • Certified Laboratories,
  • Collection Facilities,
  • Substance Abuse Professional (SAPs),
  • Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), and
  • Designated Employer Representatives (DER).

Designated Employer Representative

In this article, we will focus on the Designated Employer Representative.  A DER is required when conducting certain types of federal testing, like DOT-mandated testing.  In situations where a DER is not mandated by statute, it may still make sense depending on the makeup and personnel dynamics of your business.

The DER is the liaison with the drug and alcohol testing service agent and the employees and company.  They are the main contact person and “go to” person as it relates to the management of the employer’s drug testing program.  The DER should be knowledgeable in the testing policy, testing process and the state and federal drug testing rules and regulations.  Also, depending on the size of the company, the best practice would be to train at least two individuals on the responsibilities of a DER.  This will ensure adequate coverage when situations should arise that requires immediate attention.

Typically, DER-responsibilities are assigned to human resources, a safety director, a manager or any other responsible person trusted with confidential information.  The DER must be an employee of the company and a service agent should never perform these job duties.

Some responsibilities the DER may be accountable for on behalf of the employer include:

  • To remove individuals from their job duties, when necessary.
  • To make necessary decisions in the testing and evaluation process.
  • To receive test results and other communication for the employer.
  • Establish appropriate timelines for testing and determines test refusals.
  • Maintain records (test results, policy acknowledgements, training certification, CCF’s, SAP records, etc.).

On the other hand, a DER may perform the following duties as it pertains to service agents:

  • To obtain all results (drug = MRO, alcohol=BAT).
  • To communicate retest requests.
  • To assist in locating a “missing” records.
  • To set up collection facilities.
  • Manage the random selections.
  • Answer questions and manage all service agents.

Whether you have a question, need a policy, or have DER training needs, our professional team can assist you with all your drug testing needs.  BTW, you can CM, IM or email Current Consulting Group at 215-240-8204.

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