Railroad Testing Rules MOW

Maintenance of Way (MOW) Drug Testing Rules


The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is going to require subcontractors who perform Maintenance of Way (MOW) functions to comply with the U S Department of Transportation (DOT) Drug and Alcohol Rules. The date the compliance will begin is June 12, 2017.


The DOT rules will require MOW employees to be tested at a random rate of 50% for drugs 25% for alcohol. Pre-employment testing will be required for any new employees after June 12, 2017 and current employees will not be required to take a pre-employment test.


MOW sub-contractors will need to become aware of the U. S. DOT rules governing alcohol and drug testing. The following are situations that require testing: (1) pre-employment, (2) random testing necessary to comply with prescribed rates, (3) reasonable suspicion testing, (4) post-accident testing, (5) random follow-up testing.


Each employer will need to have a designated employee representative (DER). This individual will maintain the records of employee testing, violations and substance abuse evaluations. This function can be carried out by a third-party administrator (TPA). Employees who fail the drug and alcohol testing must be referred to a substance abuse professional (SAP). The SAP will conduct an evaluation and determine when the employee can return to safety sensitive duty and what follow-up testing will be required.


There is considerable confusion about these new alcohol and drug testing rules. The best way to get clarification is to contact a substance abuse professional who can advise you on the proper procedures.

The U.S. Department of Transportation does conduct field audits and will levy fines in instances where they find non-compliance.