The Voice of the Railroad Construction Industry

FRA Part 219 Drug & Alcohol Testing for MOW Employees

On June 10, 2016 the FRA published a final rule for Drug & Alcohol testing for MOW workers, see here for the full text of the final rule: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-06-10/pdf/2016-13058.pdf

This is now federal law!
 
The FRA has also recently developed a model railroad contractor compliance plan, which is available on the FRA website here: https://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0345
 
The rule expands the scope of FRA’s alcohol and drug regulations to cover employees, including contractors, that perform railroad maintenance-of-way activities as required by section 412 of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008. The rule also proposes certain substantive amendments that either respond to NTSB recommendations or update and clarify the alcohol and drug regulations based on a retrospective analysis. The FRA will hold railroads, contractors, and subcontractors equally responsible for ensuring that their employees who perform MOW activities are in compliance with the requirements of Part 219. The final rule goes into effect on June 12, 2017

In addition, the rule requires that railroads submit revised and expanded drug & alcohol plans to the FRA 30 days before June 12th (i.e. May 13, 2017). Those plans will need to include confirmation that the railroads have ensured that their contractors are going to have their own plans, hence we expect that railroads will begin reaching out to contractors any day now (we know some of you have already heard from certain railroads, e.g. CSX with their BROWZ system).
 
We initially sent out an email to NRC members on July 22, 2016 explaining the relationship we set up with Alere eScreen through which NRC members receive discounted drug & alcohol testing rates. (See more info here.) That is still a viable option for contractors to use who are comfortable setting up their own plans and administering their programs, but after meeting with the FRA and gaining a better understanding of all of the requirements of the 219 rule, we now believe that many NRC member contractors would be better served by a full service Third Party Administrator (TPA). So, we now have now set up relationships with two separate TPAs recommended to us by various NRC member companies and railroads. These TPAs will provide additional services that many contractors will likely want to take advantage of beyond just managing a drug testing consortium and collecting samples. 

The two NRC endorsed TPAs are DISA (www.disa.com) and Midlands Testing Services (www.midlandstestingservices.com). While both companies offer TPA services for contractors including compliance plans, policies, pool management, training, collection services, clinic networks across the country, lab services, random testing consortium services, etc., each has its own unique benefits that might be more attractive to certain NRC member companies. Both companies have also assured us that they are truly full service TPAs and can provide extensive hand holding services to help guide contractors through the compliance process and requirements under this rule.

DISA
 
DISA offers a flat annual rate per policy and set fees for NRC members for each service. DISA has a long history of managing contractor drug & alcohol testing and is a big player in the drug testing industry, including within the USDOT regulated community, but is relatively new to the railroad industry.
 
See here for DISA flyer with overview and pricing for NRC members.
 
To sign up or for any additional questions, call (281) 730-5509 or email transportationsales@disa.com and let them know you are an NRC member. 

Midlands Testing Services
 
Midlands offers a per employee annual rate plus an administration fee in addition to the services billed at a clinic. They also offer on-site testing services with pricing available upon request based on the test and location. Midlands is currently the sole D&A provider for Union Pacific and has done work with a number of Class I railroads so they are familiar with the railroad industry. For NRC members, Midlands has offered a three-tiered package (basic, standard, enterprise) with various services offered for each.
 
See here for Midlands Testing Services overview and pricing.
 
To sign up or for any additional questions, call (402) 983-9590 and let them know you are an NRC member.

If you have any questions, please email mginsberg@nrcma.org.