Fit for Duty/Physcial Agility Testing/RX Testing

Dealing with Impairment
The CDL, ADA, State Regulations and
Fitness for Duty
Gregory Gordon Kildare
Executive Officer
Risk Management
June 2013
Presentation Overview
Why fitness for duty is important
Mechanisms to evaluate fitness for duty and pitfalls
• The Commercial Drivers License Process (Pre- and Post-Employment)
Minimum Requirements for a CDL
Drug Testing
Can the Employer Expand Drug Screening Beyond DOT Minimum Standards?
Options for Expanded Testing
Legal Pitfalls Including the ADA
• Pre-Employment Screening
– Agility Testing and the Job Function Analysis
– Legal Status Pre Employment
• Post-Employment Fitness for Duty Evaluations
Referrals for Cause
The Industrial Injury Process
Agility Testing
Why Post-Employment Screening is Harder
Why Fitness for Duty is Important
On November 6, 2009 at approximately 6:15 p.m., an MTA bus was
traveling southbound on Glendale Avenue, Line 92, when the bus
operator fainted and lost control of the bus at the intersection of
Fargo Street. The runaway bus collided with a vehicle, a freeway
underpass, a retaining wall, a concrete island curb, and finally
stopped against a chain link fence along the side of the road.
Sixteen passengers onboard the bus suffered injuries as a result of
the accident, including Ms. Roongrawee who was the most
severely injured.
Ms. Roongrawee, fifty-three years old at the time of the accident,
suffered multiple fractures, contusions, orthopedic injuries,
neurological problems, and psychiatric problems as a result of the
accident. The brain CT scan revealed hemorrhaging and contusion
of the right cerebral hemisphere with brain swelling as well as
multiple compression fractures of the thoracic spine, fracture of the
right foot metatarsal and fractures of the second left rib. She
underwent multiple surgical procedures, extensive therapy and
neurological evaluations.
Why Fitness for Duty is Important
Plaintiff’s Claim of Damages: Past medical specials of approximately
$341,000 and a life care plan that includes home care, vocational
rehab, and future medical care of approximately $1,000,000; loss of
earnings claim of $12,000; and pain and suffering of $2,000,000, for a
total of $3,353,000 in potential verdict exposure.
$1,600,000 + Other Claims + Bus Damage + Cost of Defense >
Why Fitness for Duty is Important
Operator’s syncope was
the primary cause of the
Syncope related to blood
sugar problems.
Operator had a history of
diabetes including insulin
use at the time of the
Why didn’t we catch it?
‘Cause he didn’t disclose
The Commercial Drivers License
What are the minimum federal requirements?
• Loss of Limbs?
– Loss of Foot, Leg, Hand, Arm, precludes CDL unless SPE is issued
• Limb Impairment?
– Medical Judgment
• Diabetes?
– Insulin use precludes CDL. Non-insulin dependent diabetes, medical judgment
• Cardiovascular Condition?
– Medical Judgment except implantable defibrillators precludes CDL
• Respiratory Dysfunction?
– Medical Judgment
• Hypertension?
– Type 3 Hypertension (180/110 BP) precludes CDL until reduced below 140/90 BP. Other rules apply for Type 1 and Type 2
Hypertension but do not preclude issuance of a CDL
• No use of a Schedule I drug, Amphetamine, Narcotic or Habit Forming
drug unless prescribed by licensed medical practitioner familiar with
roles and duties and certifies safety to operate vehicle
The Commercial Drivers License
What are the minimum federal requirements?
• Epilepsy
– A prior history (i.e., < 10 years of epileptic episodes or <5 years for a single episode), a current diagnosis of epilepsy and current use
of anti-seizure medication preclude a CDL
• Rheumatic/Orthopedic/Muscular/Neuromuscular/Vascular Disease
– Medical Judgment
• Mental Disorders?
– Medical Judgment
• Vision?
– Corrected to 20/40 or better and not colorblind
• Hearing?
– With or without hearing aid 40 decibels in one ear at 500 Hz, 1,000 Hz and 1,500 Hz
• Drug Use?
– No use of Schedule I, an amphetamine, a narcotic or other habit-forming drug (a licensed medical doctor can certify some use as
not impairing)
• Alcoholism?
– Medical Judgment
The Commercial Drivers License
Of these requirements, which are disqualifying?
CDME Requirements for 2014
Commercial motor vehicle drivers in interstate
commerce, as of May 21, 2014, must be medically
examined and certified by a certified medical
examiner listed on the National Registry of Certified
Medical Examiners (NRCME).
The motor carrier, for exams performed on or after May 21, 2014, must generate a note verifying that the medical examiner utilized by the driver was
listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. The motor carrier must obtain an original or copy of the medical examiner's
certificate issued in accordance with and any medical variance on which the certification is based, and, beginning on or after May 21, 2014, verify the
driver was certified by a medical examiner listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners as of the date of issuance of the medical
examiner's certificate, and place the records in the driver qualification file, before allowing the driver to operate a CMV at the time of the exam.
Not sure if this is applicable to intrastate transit.
Testing Under the CDL
Does Testing Make Sense for ……
• No test. Seizures can happen with many disorders
• Moderate frequency (1% - 3% of the population)
• Treatable (70% of sufferers enter remission on
• Diabetes testing is complicated
– H1AC
– Glucose
– No Universal Test for Insulin Use
Testing Under the CDL
• The World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) is currently
seeking a test for insulin abuse based on this
technique and so far, research in this area suggests
that the technique of looking at MS signatures can
discriminate metabolites of lantus insulin (a longacting synthetic insulin) from naturally produced
human insulin.
However, this method doesn’t seem to work for the
urine samples from diabetic patients who have been
treated with recombinant human insulin or Levemir,
two other commercially available long-acting insulins.
This is obviously a major drawback when trying to
establish a reliable test to detect insulin abuse.
Testing Under the CDL
• Good Tests
• Cheap
• Do It!
• Good Tests (by a trained audiologist) -- NOT the 7 foot
whisper test
• Cheap
• Do It!
Drug Testing Requirements
Pre-employment, post-accident, random, reasonable
suspicion (a separate process from the examination)
• Marijuana (grass, pot, weed, hash, joint, Acapulco gold)
• Cocaine (coke, crack, snow, blow, flake, "C", rock, base)
• Opiates - opium and codeine derivatives - (heroin, horse, "H",
junk, smack, scag, Miss Emma)
• Amphetamines - amphetamines and methamphetamines (uppers, speed, bennies, black beauties, Christmas trees, crystal,
mollies, crank, BAM, dexies)
• Phencyclidine - PCP - (angel dust, peace pill, hog, supergrass,
embalming fluid, rocket fuel, killer weed)
Recommended Changes
– Benzodiazapenes (e.g., Xanax, et al)
– Schedule II Medications (i.e., opiates and stimulants such as codeine and ritalin)
• Permissible use of a licit controlled drug would require signoff from a certified commercial driver medical examiner
What Can You Do in the CDL Process
• FTA specifically discusses in FAQ and Toolkit on CD that entities
governed by the CDL regs may
• have a drug formulary that reasonably limits medications beyond those imposed by existing regs.
• Indiana DOT
“Under its own authority, the MBTA will require a urine screen for a urine test for marijuana, cocaine, opiates, phencyclidine
(PCP), amphetamines, barbituates, benzodiazepines, methadone, methaqualone, and propoxyphene. This additional test will be
conducted under a separate chain of custody from the FTA required test.”
• Impose safety standards and testing beyond FTA regs as part of
or concurrent with the CDL Exam process.
Ditch the 7 foot whisper test and have a real audiology exam (FTA explicitly permits)
LACMTA is considering adding blood test requirement to test for Diabetes
Wait for good insulin use tests currently under development
Consider using certified medical examiners ONLY
Physical Capability Testing
• MTA has been performing pre-employment physical
capability testing for several years
• We prevailed in a legal challenge to the test’s use
• MTA v. Webster
• We went to great lengths to ensure we reasonably
identified physical requirements for Bus Operators.
• Job Function Analysis
Job Function Analysis (JFA)
A JFA should serve as a starting point for developing
a physical capability test. A qualified Human Factors
expert, biomechanical expert and vocation rehab firm
should be hired to do this (example included on CD).
< 5% of the time, Brief/intermittent
< 5% of the time, brief (up to 13
minutes, pre-trip inspection).
Continual 55-90 minutes at one time
COMMENTS: The Operator will stand/walk to get off to assist someone in a wheel
chair, for up to 5 minutes and will stand/walk for pre-trip inspection, 13 minutes.
On a typical shift the full-time Operator works 8-12 hours, and will sit from 6 hours,
45 minutes to 7 hours, 40 minutes. The remaining time being used for sign-on, pretrip, and recovery time. Most bus models have basic seats, with some
Bus Operator Candidate Assessment
The BOCAT is a qualitative assessment given by MTA
supervisors to prospective candidates that have
passed all other screenings (copy on the CD).
Can Test be Used Post-Employment?
We are evaluating whether this test can be used post
employment because of obesity and general fitness
deterioration over time or because of injury or illness.
Fitness for Duty Referrals for Cause
• LACMTA may require an employee to undergo a special fitness
for duty examination when:
– the employee is having difficulty performing work duties in a manner that is safe for the employee, the employee's coworkers, LACMTA or the public; or
– the employee poses an imminent and serious safety threat to self or others.
• In consultation with the HR Representative, the
manager/supervisor investigates the circumstances to determine:
– if there is a reasonable explanation for the employee's behavior;
– if the H.R. medical records indicate the employee is already under medical treatment;
– whether a reasonable suspicion drug and/or alcohol test as described in LACMTA's Drug and Alcohol Free Work
Environment (HR 46)policy, should be ordered by a supervisor;
– if the employee should be referred to the Employee Assistance Program for an initial assessment and recommendations
regarding the need for a fitness for duty examination; or the risk is sufficiently imminent that it warrants removing the
employee from duty immediately, and placing on paid leave pending examination.
Fitness for Duty Referrals for Cause
• Based on the circumstances and information gathered, the HR
Representative may convene a roundtable discussion with the
manager/supervisor, County Counsel, Employee/Labor Relations
Representative and Risk Management, if applicable. The
roundtable will be conducted to review all relevant information
regarding the employee and to make a determination as to the
appropriate course of action.
– A fitness for duty examination may not be used as a substitute for discipline, a performance improvement plan, or
performance-based disqualification.
• If a fitness for duty examination is recommended, the HR
Representative will schedule the employee to take a fitness for
duty examination with a contracted Clinic. Employees may be
required to provide their own relevant medical records to the
LACMTA HCP as part of the examination process.
Fitness for Duty Referrals for Cause
• Fitness for Duty Referrals for cause are:
– Complicated
– Very rarely performed
– More likely to result in employment claims and workers’ compensation claims
• The false positives problem
Pre-employment vs. Post-employment
• Testing Requirements
– Job Related and Consistent with Business Necessity
• Pre-employment Testing Rights
– Applicants
– Privacy Issues - Several State Constitutions Guarantee Right to Privacy
• Safety Sensitive
– Applicants
– Privacy Issues - Several State Constitutions Guarantee Right to Privacy
Pre-employment vs. Post-employment
• Post-employment Testing Rights
– Existing Employees – Heightened Scrutiny
– Greater Privacy Rights for Existing Employees
• Courts More Likely to Defer to Employer Decisions to Collect Information from Applicants than from Existing
• Disparate Impact
– Disparate Impact
• Employer Requires that All Applicants Pass a Physical Agility Test, but the Test Disproportionately Screens Out
Rules to Know: ADA Balancing Act
• EEOC Regulations – Non-ADA
– Regs protect against discrimination based on protected classes (e.g., age, race, gender, etc.)
– Discuss
• Americans with Disability Act (ADA)
– Obligation to Reasonably Accommodate Disabilities
– Discuss
• Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
– Guarantees Privacy of Personal Health Information
– Discuss
• Conflict between ADA, HIPAA and DOT REGS
– If a federal law prohibits an employer from hiring a person who takes insulin, the employer would not be liable under
the ADA. The employer should be certain, however, that compliance with the law actually is required, not voluntary.
Some Good Regulatory Advice
• Go to the Fed website and look for guidance.
Their missive on setting standards and testing is
included on the CD.
• Regardless of whether an employee
separation/demotion or change in working
conditions related to activities discussed
today…CDL process, other drug testing, Fitness
for Duty Testing, Testing for Cause….
• Conduct an ADA interactive process
• Keep medical information private
Moving Towards a Safer Workforce
• If you haven’t implemented a pre-employment
screening test for bus operators, you should.
– Test should be based on a JFA and should be professionally developed.
• Use certified medical examiners to perform
required testing under DOT regs.
– Audiology testing should be done using equipment by a trained audiologist NOT the 7-foot whisper test.
• Add testing for pharmaceuticals that can be
abused and impair such as some pain medications
and anti-anxiety drugs, possibly others.
– Collection needs to be separate from the DOT required testing. Look to FTA for guidance.
Moving Towards a Safer Workforce
• Consider post-employment physical screening of
safety sensitive employees. LACMTA is moving
towards this within the next 12 months.
• Use the safety sensitive legal standards to your
advantage and look for opportunities to strengthen
physical standards.
– e.g., we dramatically increased physical requirements when we began to provide patron assistance in boarding
wheelchairs on buses
• LACMTA Fitness For Duty
– Fitness For Duty Policy
– Policy Study by Dr. Hartenbaum
• Bus Operator Agility Testing
– BOCAT Evaluation Form
– Agility Test Release Form
• Guidance
– ADA Enforcement Guidance
– FTA Medication Toolkit
– FTA Medication Toolkit Frequently Asked Questions
• Case Studies
– FEHA Case: Hines v. LACMTA
– Assault Case: Berger v. Southern Pacific Co.

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