October 26, 2023

Model Standing Order for Drug Testing of DOT-Regulated Employees


Under the DOT’s oral fluid final rule, DOT says employers must tell collection sites what kind of testing methodology to use (oral fluid versus urine), recommending that employers have a “Standing Order” in place to avoid any confusion in the testing process.

 Once HHS certifies a primary and secondary laboratory for oral fluid testing, and oral fluid testing can begin for DOT-regulated employees, the collector will want to know what kind of testing methodology will apply when the employee arrives at the collection site.  Will they perform an oral fluid or a urine collection? 

A Standing Order means the same thing as the employer’s “directions”, “instructions”, or “protocols” for telling collection sites what kind of test to administer in a specific situation. There is no set format DOT requires for doing this.  To assist in developing your own standing order, NDASA has developed a model that is an easy-to-use fillable PDF. 

An employer can use the NDASA Model Standing Order to express their preferences and distribute it to their C/TPA and collection sites.  Or, a C/TPA can pre-fill the standing order with their own suggestions for what they think is the most practical and cost-effective methodology for pre-employment, random and other regularly occurring collections, as well as for problem collections.  The important thing is for the employer’s DER to sign the standing order, so that all of the collection sites they will be using can get a copy of the employer’s choices.

The reason DOT refers to this as a Standing Order is because this term is used in Part 40. When an MRO has a Standing Order with a laboratory to perform D-L isomer testing on all methamphetamine positives or THC-V testing on confirmed marijuana positives, the laboratory knows what to do each time one of these situations arises. So, DOT extended that term to cover an employer’s instructions to its service agents about what kind of testing methodology to use every time for each type of testing situation.

Having this standing order ready to go once the first labs are approved will reduce or eliminate the collector needing to contact the DER for each collection to be conducted.  So, be ready to make those choices and let your service agents know what you want!