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RETURN-TO-DUTY SERVICES, SAP Services Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Return-To-Duty Process And SAP Services


Creating a drug-free environment is the responsibility of every employer. However, a drug-free workplace is more critical for safe-sensitive employees. That is why RTD or return-to-duty testing is essential to keep employees free from drug addiction. Some therapy centers provide RTD services for workers in both non-regulated and regulated sectors. The RTD test is also intended for employees who have violated the drug and alcohol policies of a company. 

When do you need RTD tests?

The RTD test is a must for employees associated with safe-sensitive jobs. According to the Department of Transportation  (DOT)  guidelines, an employee should take RTD tests to return to duty after undergoing the drug treatment program. There are some circumstances when you should ask your employees to take the RTD test. 

  • Refusing random drug or alcohol tests

Employees who work in a regulated sector may be required for random drug/alcohol tests. If an employees refuse the test, they will be considered unfit for the work and not be allowed to do their duty at the workplace. In that case, the employees must undergo a Substance Abuse professional assessment by a certified SAP or Substance Abuse Professional who may recommend the drug treatment program. After experiencing it, your employee has to take the test.

  • Drug/alcohol violation policies

Suppose DOT-regulated employee workers in a security-sensitive environment failed a drug or alcohol test. In that case, they can no longer resume work until they go through the Substance Abuse Professional Assessment program.

Employees can be tested for drugs and alcohol if they violate the policy differently. For instance, he might have suspiciously behaved under the influence or possessed alcohol or drugs at the workplace.

  • Positive results obtained from the random drug test

If the random drug test for an employee has shown a positive result, an RTD process is essential after going through the SAP program. 

Pre-Employment Testing

Q1. Requirements for Pre-Employment Testing:  If a driver or employee is terminated and returns to safety-sensitive duty with the same employer, is the employee subject to a pre-employment test before for drug and alcohol?

A1. Suppose a driver has been removed from a DOT random testing pool for over 30 days. In that case, the employer must conduct the driver a pre-employment test for drug and alcohol, and a negative test result must be received before the driver can operate a vehicle (CMV). Suppose less than 30 days have passed since the driver was under the Department of Transportation (DOT ) random testing program. In that case, the driver’s employer may re-employ the employee without going under the pre-employment alcohol and drug test. This situation only applies to situation employment with the same company/employer.

Q2. Is an employer required to administer pre-employment alcohol and drug test on an employee that received a verified negative test result on the pre-employment drug test but the employee was not placed into the company’s DOT random testing program, and it is over more than thirty (30 ) days since the date of the pre-employment drug test was administered?

A. Yes, because the driver/ employee was not placed in a DOT random testing plan for more than thirty (30)  days, the employer must administer another pre-employment DOT drug test on the driver employee and receive a negative result before hiring the employee or driver to work or drive a commercial vehicle that requires a Commercial Driving License. Please refer to 382.301 (b) (1) and 382.301


RTD tests are mainly for employees who have violated the alcohol and drug program rules and received positive results. These employees should go through the steps of the RTD process. 

RTD differs from standard pre-employment drug tests because it is under the direct supervision of an expert, and it ensures the high integrity of the overall testing process.

What are the reasons for the failed DOT drug tests?

One of the easiest ways to pass drug or alcohol tests is to avoid taking drugs. But, it is difficult to say NO to alcohol and drugs if someone is addicted. DOT rules have stated that there is a risk of failure in the medicine due to some reasons-

  • Your test sample has revealed evidence of drug use, resulting in failed DOT drug tests.
  • If you have refused to take the test, you will fail. However, refusal of the pre-employment tests may not always lead to the same result. Still, from a technical perspective, it is a type of failure.

Failure in the DOT drug/alcohol tests will affect your employment opportunities. It is essential to avoid consuming restricted drugs and alcohol before driving vehicles, and avoidance of drugs will prevent collisions and ensure travel safety.

 The  return-to-duty process

U.S. DOT Compliant & Canadian Model (COAA) Compliant

The RTD process is different in every industry and company. Still, the company will take some common steps after finding a positive result in an employee’s drug test. 

  • Removing the employee from the workforce- Even if the employee is driving the vehicle or working in a different state, he should be notified.
  • Refer the employee for  Primary evaluation done by SAP- The professional has to assess the employee and learn about their situation. SAP will then decide on the treatment program for the employee.
  • Treatment and education program- The certified SAP must create a program to treat the employee and free him from drug addiction.
  • Follow-up evaluation- After going through the designated program, the employee has to meet the SAP to know whether he should meet the recommendations in the initial SAP assessment.

The SAP will create the follow-up test routine. After receiving a negative result in the RTD test, the employee may resume work.

 Substance Abuse Professional SAP responsibilities

SAP is a qualified professional who does not represent an employer or employee. But, he abides by the DOT rules and company policies by helping people avoid drug addiction.

As a DOT-certified professional, SAP can follow the rules set by DOT. The goal of SAP is to ensure the safety of employees and employers when they are on roads or highways. He provides rehabilitative treatment to rectify the dangerous habits of your workers. 

The main roles of SAP are to-.

  • Assess the drug or alcohol-positive employees and recommend a treatment program.
  • Educate and provide treatment before an employee returns to his duty.
  • Instruct employees on rehabilitation programs.
  • Prepare the Final assessment Report of the employer to decide whether the employee can return to work and follow up recommendations.

Can you return to work after a DOT drug test failure?

If you have failed the DOT drug test or the test has shown negative results, it does mean your career ends. You can approach a certified DOT SAP to undergo the RTD process, and it will help you join your work again. The process involves one-on-one assessment with SAP. When the RTD shows a negative result, you can still restore your position in the job.

After returning to work, you need to take minimum  6 follow-up drug tests in a year. But, some SAPs may recommend more tests when required.


You should be serious about the DOT drug tests. If the drug test shows positive, you may not get hired, or your employer may fire you. Employees with positive drug test results have faced long-term consequences.

Sometimes, you may need to take multiple follow-up tests. Still, it would help if you tried to avoid violating DOT rules. Every employee has to federal regulations and follows the alcohol rules of the company. Employers should also be aware of these facts to run their business efficiently.

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