Sometimes we use scientific terms and legal language in this industry that you don’t hear every day. To help decipher their meaning, we’ve put together a list of definitions.
Alcohol and Drug Testing
Adulterated Specimen – Addition of a known or unknown substance that is used to interfere with testing and/or mask the presence of drugs in a specimen.
Certification Testing – This term is commonly referred to by workplace (i.e. non-regulated) employers in Canada. Some companies also call this applicant or pre-placement testing. This is where job candidates must pass a drug and/or alcohol test as a condition of their employment for specified safety sensitive positions as part of an overall skills and qualifications evaluation process.
Designated Employer Representative (DER)/Program Administrator (PA) – This is an individual appointed by your company who is authorized to receive and access confidential test results and/or other communication from DriverCheck. The appointee(s) may also have other responsibilities as outlined in your company policy (i.e. remove employees from safety sensitive duties, when needed).
Dilute Specimen – A specimen that in effect has a physiologically possible water concentration that exceeds the normal expected physiological range for human urine, thereby effectively lowering the concentration of substances contained within the specimen.
Express to Lab Testing – A POCT immunoassay screening test is completed in the field, and regardless of the outcome (non-negative or negative), the specimen is then shipped to an accredited analytical laboratory for a new laboratory-based immunoassay screening test. If the lab-based immunoassay screening test is positive, a GC/MS confirmation test is only done for the substance(s) that tested positive on the lab-based immunoassay screening test.
Follow up Testing – This is additional random-like unannounced drug and/or alcohol testing required as a condition of an employee returning to work after previously testing positive, violating DOT regulations (if applicable), or otherwise violating company policy and having successfully completed the Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) process as verified by the SAP. Once the worker has passed his/her return to duty test, follow up type of testing is required by DOT regulations where DOT regulations are applicable (or by the company he/she works for in non-regulated programs). The category/categories and frequency of testing are determined by the Substance Abuse Professional.
Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) – Highly technical and accurate scientific analytical equipment used to precisely identify different substances and their quantitations within a test sample. It is known as the gold standard for forensic substance testing and is used for confirmation testing process by our designated laboratory.
Immunoassay Screening Test – A type of biochemical test that identifies the presence of a substance or substances in a specimen submitted for drug testing. This is a useful tool for initial drug screening, but confirmation testing using GC/MS must follow when the immunoassay screening test result is non-negative.
Point of Care Testing (POCT) – A POCT is an immunoassay screening test that is done in the field, with instant results. If the result is non-negative, the specimen is shipped to an accredited analytical laboratory for GC/MS confirmation testing for the substance that tested positive on the POCT test.
Post-Accident Testing – In DOT settings, this drug and/or alcohol test is required when an accident occurs and certain criteria are met. As specified in the DOT’s Regulatory Guidance, the accident must have occurred: a) within the U.S., b) on segments of interstate movements into Canada between the U.S.-Canadian border and the first physical delivery location of a Canadian consignee, or c) on segments of interstate movements out of Canada between the last physical pick-up location of a Canadian consignor and the U.S.-Canadian border. DOT post-accident drug tests must be completed as soon as practicable, but within 32 hours after the accident, and documentation must begin after 8 hours. DOT post-accident alcohol tests must also be completed as soon as possible, but within 8 hours after the accident, and documentation must begin after 2 hours. Please contact DriverCheck for guidance on whether or not an accident is DOT reportable.
Post-Incident Testing – A non-regulated drug and/or alcohol test that is taken following a workplace incident or accident that may or may not have resulted in injury or death. Policies on the circumstances that warrant this test vary and are company-specific. A post-incident workplace test would follow in accordance with the company’s specifically designed policy. The policy should outline the time frames and details to be followed in such instances.
Pre-Access Testing – In a workplace setting, employees must pass this drug and/or alcohol test as a condition of being awarded access to a work site.
Pre-Employment Testing – This term is used in DOT settings and refers to a mandatory drug and optional alcohol testing at the time of hiring or at the time of assignment from non-safety sensitive duties to safety sensitive duties that must be passed before a DOT regulated worker can take on safety sensitive duties as defined under DOT rules. In non-DOT programs, pre-employment testing can also be known as pre-placement, and refers to drug and/or alcohol testing that is administered to a candidate as a condition of his/her employment or to an existing employee prior to a new placement, in order to determine his/her suitability for a certain safety sensitive position.
Random Testing – These are drug and/or alcohol tests administered to employees who are randomly selected from a pool of employees by a computerized program or by random testing tables. ‘Random’ testing means that every person in the testing pool has the same chance of being selected each time – regardless of whether or not they have been previously selected or tested. Workers should only be notified immediately before the test is taken.
Reasonable Cause Testing/Reasonable Suspicion Testing – In a workplace setting, this is a drug and/or alcohol test that is conducted when there is reasonable cause to believe that a worker is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol while performing his/her duties. Circumstances that qualify as reasonable cause vary in workplace (i.e. non-regulated) settings, and depend on the company’s specifically designed policy. In DOT settings, this is a drug and/or alcohol test that is conducted when there is reasonable suspicion to believe a worker is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol while performing his/her duties. A trained supervisor must personally witness observable signs and symptoms of drug and/or alcohol abuse. Please contact DriverCheck for guidance on what constitutes reasonable cause testing.
Return to Duty Testing – A drug and/or alcohol test required as a condition of a worker’s return to safety sensitive duties after the worker previously tested positive for drugs and/or alcohol or violated DOT regulations (if applicable) and/or company policy in another way, and has satisfactorily completed the assessment and the education and/or treatment requirements of the Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) as verified in the SAP’s report to the employer. The worker must test negative on the return to duty test prior to resuming safety sensitive work.
Specimen Validity Testing – Refers to the tests conducted by laboratories to determine if a urine specimen is dilute or has been adulterated or substituted.
Substituted Specimen – Where a specimen is found to have certain properties not consistent with human urine.
Designated Substances – Materials that, due to the risks associated with exposure, processing, handling, or storage, are strictly regulated by provincial/federal governments, including the requirement for certain health assessments and testing.
Physical Abilities Testing – A form of testing that determines if an employee is physically capable of performing the specific tasks of a particular job. It identifies potential risks to which the employer should pay attention, and any weak points the employee might have that can be addressed to avoid injuries on the job.
Physical Demands Analysis – A systematic process used to evaluate the physical demands of the essential and non-essential tasks of a job.
Pulmonary Function Test (PFT)/Spirometry – A test that measures lung function, specifically the amount of and/or speed at which air can be inhaled and exhaled.
Qualitative Respirator Fit Testing – Qualitative Mask Fitting is a method of testing requiring the employee to wear the mask and then to attempt to detect a bitter or sweet odour. This odour is injected into a test booth or hood while the employee is wearing his/her mask. If the client cannot detect the odour, the test is considered a pass. This type of testing can only be performed on disposable and half -face masks.
Quantitative Respirator Fit Testing – Produces a numerical measurement of the ‘fit factor’ of a particular respirator. A particle counting device (such as a TSI Portacount Plus) measures the concentration of microscopic particles that exist in ambient air to measure the ‘fit factor’ directly. The measurement is made while the person performs dynamic movements and/or breathing exercises resembling those experienced in the workplace in order to stress the respirator seal. This type of testing can be performed on all types of masks.
Sleep Apnea & Fatigue Management
Auto-Titrating/Automatic Positive Airway Pressure (APAP) – APAP machines automatically tune or titrate the amount of air pressure delivered to the minimum required to keep an airway unobstructed. It measures the resistance of the patient’s breathing, giving the patient the precise pressure required at a given moment.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) – CPAP machines are designed to deliver a fixed amount of mild air pressure to keep an airway open during sleep. The pressure from CPAP prevents the airway from collapsing or becoming blocked.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea – A sleep disorder characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing, or abnormally shallow breathing during sleep. Each interruption in breathing, called an apnea, can last a few seconds or minutes. This disorder often leads to loud snoring and causes fatigue and excessive drowsiness.