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Why Designated Employer Representative Training Matters

  • Published: Apr, 7 2020
  • Updated: Apr, 7 2020

The USA now finds itself wrestling with what is officially a global pandemic dubbed COVID-19. Many states throughout the country are grappling with new policies to execute lockdowns and stay-in-place shelters. Transportation, however, remains at the top of the list for essential services as supply chains need to be maintained.

It’s up to logistics companies to ensure that professional drivers and others do their jobs well. The designated employer representative (DER) is a critical cog in this apparatus, which is why proper DER training is essential.

What Is A DER?

A designated employer representative is a managerial position. This is a person within a business who acts as both a decision-maker for drug use-related decisions and a liaison for drug testing personnel. A vital aspect of the DER is an awareness of the drug testing regulations specific to the governing body that business answers to.

An air freight company, for example, must comply with drug testing regulations set out by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Meanwhile, people involved in ground logistics like professional freight hauling have a different set of rules issued by the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA). Various federal organizations have different guidelines for drug tests, sobriety tests, and other forms of protocol. What is vital for a pilot may differ from what is important for a train operator.

Making The Tough Calls

The designated employer representative is responsible for understanding federal regulations on drug use and maintaining compliance in a business. This includes keeping an eye on behavior that may indicate drug use or following up on reports from other staff in the same vein. The judgment and recommendation of the DER will be used if a decision needs to be made regarding an employee using drugs.

The DER is also the frontline manager for testing and getting the results. When professional drug testers arrive, they liaise with the DER to set up a collection site and test employees either randomly selected or under suspicion. When the samples are analyzed, it is the DER who gets the first word from the lab about whether the results are positive or negative.

Training Required

The DER position is one that requires a high level of responsibility and decision-making. However, these traits must be complemented with a proper, certified training program. DER duties and expectations will differ depending on the federal agencies with jurisdiction. Part of the job is being aware of the regulations that need to be observed for compliance and having good managerial skills to make decisions about testing and employees who test positive.

The entire nation is facing a severe crisis, and every company must do its part to ensure the country continues to thrive. Transportation, logistics, and other infrastructure are part of that effort. That’s why it’s more important than ever that designated employer representative training is conducted correctly to make sure everyone does their part.

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