DOT Compliance for Reasonable Suspicion Training of Supervisors in Alcohol and Drug Abuse Awareness
60 Minutes of Alcohol Training and 60 Minutes of Drug Education
Drug-Free Workplace Author, Daniel Feerst, MSW, Publisher
The U.S. Department of Transportation does not certify your training in educating supervisors about workplace substance abuse. They simply have a requirement about the time, quantity, and parameters of the training to ensure that one hour of alcohol and one hour of drug education occur.

It is important to understand that the question and answer and effective learning of material that takes place with things like pre-tests and post-tests count toward the two hours. The training of supervisors is more than simply have supervisors sit for 60 minutes or an hour of alcohol and and 60 minutes or an hour for drug education.

Now that you know the question and answer period is counted in the 60 minutes of training, (I know because I called Washington, D.C. DOT headquarters and they answered this question for me.) let talk about effective questions that you can use in training that help supervisors "grasp" the seriousness of the problem they are dealing with when it comes to drunk or drug using employees.

Here are a few of my most favorite questions. You should feel free to copy these questions and use them, but the training course for reasonable suspicion training has 35 such questions in it.

Q. If a supervisor knows the employee very well, it is usually appropriate to ask a few personal questions about problems at home or in his or her personal life in order to determine if a drug or alcohol problem exists. Any answer like, “I am seeing my doctor today,” or “I am back with my 12-step program,” means the supervisor can skip the idea or referring the employee for testing.     True   False 

Q. In some drug stores, small plastic breathalyzer tubes are available for purchase that, when activated, will measure one's blood alcohol level when one blows through it. These devices are handy and should be used for pre-screening an employee the supervisor thinks may be using alcohol at work. True   False 

Q. When making a referral to testing, the supervisor should appear supportive to his or her employee by sharing personal information about the supervisor's own past experiences with drugs and alcohol. This will make the supervisor a positive role model for the employee. True   False 

Q. Employees with alcohol or other drug problems may also have a history of job performance, conduct, or attitude problems that have frustrated the supervisor for a significant period of time. It is important for the supervisor to remain calm and not allow his or her emotions to interfere with an orderly process of referring the employee to testing. True   False 

Q. Sometimes feelings and hunches are correct. This means the supervisor should rely upon them when deciding to confront an employee and refer him or her to testing. 
True   False 

Q. If a supervisor suspects an employee of having a substance-abuse problem, it is sometimes best to take a “wait and see” approach, because if the supervisor is wrong, and there is no substance abuse problem, the employee's reputation could be ruined. 
True   False 

Include questions in your 60 minutes or an hour of alcohol and and 60 minutes or an hour for drug education with supervisors. And make these questions thoughtful and impacting so the blinders supervisors wear naturally as a result of ignorance and lack of information about workplace substance abuse begin to lift.

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DOT DVD of Reasonable Suspicion Training
Daniel A. Feerst, LISW-CP
Publisher, WorkExcel.com


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