Safety is the first priority of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). To ensure that transportation providers employ workers who are 100% drug- and alcohol-free, the DOT developed regulations for a Alcohol and Drug Testing Program and created the position of SAPs to assist those who are identified through this program as having a problem with drugs and/or alcohol.
A U.S. Department of Transportation SAP operates as a “gatekeeper” of the return-to-duty process and provides an important service to the employee, the employer and the traveling public. SAPs represent the major decision point (and in some cases the only decision point) an employer may have in choosing whether or not to place an employee behind the steering wheel of a school bus, in the cockpit of a plane, at the helm of an oil tanker, at the throttle of a train, in the engineer compartment of a subway car or at the emergency control valves of a natural gas pipeline. A SAPs responsibility to the public is enormous.
Specifically, SAPs evaluate workers who have violated a U.S. DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and make recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing and continuing care.
SAPs provide the following services for their clients:
Conduct comprehensive face-to-face assessment and clinical evaluation to determine what level of assistance the employee needs in resolving problems associated with alcohol use or prohibited drug use;
Recommend a course of education and/or treatment with which the employee must comply prior to returning to DOT safety-sensitive duty;
Serve as a referral source to assist the employee’s entry into an acceptable program;
Conduct a face-to-face follow-up evaluation with the employee to determine if the individual has demonstrated successful compliance with recommendations of the initial evaluation and has made appropriate clinical progress sufficient to return to duty;
Develop and direct a follow-up testing plan for the employee returning to work following successful compliance; and
Provide the employee and employer with recommendations for continuing care.