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Passenger Trains > OIG: Amtrak "has issues" with drug and alcohol testing


Date: 03/14/19 16:23
OIG: Amtrak "has issues" with drug and alcohol testing
Author: Lackawanna484

An Office of the Inspector General report says  thousands of employees may have slipped through screening, and many supervisors have not taken required courses.  This follows an earlier 2012 report highlighting many of the same problems.

The OIG says its review of data showed that more than double Amtrak estimate of people in safety sensitive positions had compromised situations.

Struggling to screen workers

OIG report



Date: 03/14/19 17:27
Re: OIG: Amtrak "has issues" with drug and alcohol testing
Author: andersonb109

How reassuring. Is there anything this company can do right? 



Date: 03/14/19 18:00
Re: OIG: Amtrak "has issues" with drug and alcohol testing
Author: pdt

"may have" 

Im not for use of drugs by anyone operating any kind  machinery, but I'd be WAAAAAAY more concerned about ppl driving next to me on the highway being drunk or high, than worry about train crews being impared.   More train accidents seem to be caused by sleep depravation than anything else....



Date: 03/14/19 18:54
Re: OIG: Amtrak "has issues" with drug and alcohol testing
Author: 1019X

Considering that the FRA requirements for drug testing train crews started after Conrail Engineer Ricky Gates' actions killed 16 people on an Amtrak train; I think Amtrak would want get this corrected. 



Date: 03/14/19 19:03
Re: OIG: Amtrak "has issues" with drug and alcohol testing
Author: PC1974

Death by a thousand cuts...




Date: 03/14/19 22:23
Re: OIG: Amtrak "has issues" with drug and alcohol testing
Author: pdt

1019X Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Considering that the FRA requirements for drug
> testing train crews started after Conrail Engineer
> Ricky Gates' actions killed 16 people on an Amtrak
> train; I think Amtrak would want get this
> corrected. 

Well that makes no sense.  Ricky Gates worked for  Conrail, not Amtk.   Amtk is now responsible for drug testing on other rr's?



Date: 03/14/19 22:52
Re: OIG: Amtrak "has issues" with drug and alcohol testing
Author: nickatnight

pdt Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> 1019X Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Considering that the FRA requirements for drug
> > testing train crews started after Conrail
> Engineer
> > Ricky Gates' actions killed 16 people on an
> Amtrak
> > train; I think Amtrak would want get this
> > corrected. 
>



>pdt 
> Well that makes no sense.  Ricky Gates worked
> for  Conrail, not Amtk.   Amtk is now
> responsible for drug testing on other rr's?


So there is no lesson to be learned from a impaired railroader on one railroad involved in an accident which impacted (literally) another railroad sharing the same route??      The OP was pretty clear that Amtrak has valid concern about impairment and the sometimes awful consequences. Seems like you are trying desperately to avoid the obvious. 


Nickatnight

 



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/14/19 23:07 by nickatnight.



Date: 03/15/19 05:20
Re: OIG: Amtrak "has issues" with drug and alcohol testing
Author: Highspeed

Not to take away from the conclusions of the report, I did see a possible flaw in their reasoning in one area.

When discussing the number of employees self-reporting having a prescription for impairment-causing drugs vs medical claims for the same, they never mention if they excluded those employees out on a leave of absence and not operating equipment. If an employee was on a LOA for surgery, they might get a narcotic pain prescription, but not have to self-report as they were not working, and would likely be drug screened for a return-to-work exam before doing so.

But overall this does not surprise me.



Date: 03/15/19 05:45
Re: OIG: Amtrak "has issues" with drug and alcohol testing
Author: Lackawanna484

Highspeed Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Not to take away from the conclusions of the
> report, I did see a possible flaw in their
> reasoning in one area.
>
> When discussing the number of employees
> self-reporting having a prescription for
> impairment-causing drugs vs medical claims for the
> same, they never mention if they excluded those
> employees out on a leave of absence and not
> operating equipment. If an employee was on a LOA
> for surgery, they might get a narcotic pain
> prescription, but not have to self-report as they
> were not working, and would likely be drug
> screened for a return-to-work exam before doing
> so.
>
> But overall this does not surprise me.


Managing benefits and pharmacy for people on leaves of absence is a problem.  However, if they were on leave, they would not be operating trains, working on the right of way, etc for Amtrak. 

But, as noted by another poster, they could be driving on the freeway, one lane over, or cleaning weapons, etc on their own time.

Here's what the summary says about the privacy issue, and what the pharmacy benefit manager contracted by Amtrak and its unions can do:

=20pxA=20pxn HR official acknowledged =20pxthat because self=20px-reporting is an inherently weak control=20px, the com=20pxpany has no =20pxway of en=20pxsuring that all employees reported their prescription drug use.=20px To help =20pxstrengthen these controls, the company=20px is exploring measures=20px to better ensure =20pxthat employees are aware of and adhere to the reporting requirement=20px, such as =20pxrequiring prescription benefi=20pxts administrators to send letters reminding =20pxemployees of the reporting requirement when they fill certain prescription =20pxdrugs=20px. H=20pxowever, as of =20pxDece=20pxmber 2018, the company=20px had not implemented any of =20pxthese measures



Date: 03/15/19 08:48
Re: OIG: Amtrak "has issues" with drug and alcohol testing
Author: jst3751

Lackawanna484 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> =20pxA=20pxn HR official acknowledged =20pxthat
> because self=20px-reporting is an inherently weak
> control=20px, the com=20pxpany has no =20pxway of
> en=20pxsuring that all employees reported their
> prescription drug use.=20px To help
> =20pxstrengthen these controls, the company=20px
> is exploring measures=20px to better ensure
> =20pxthat employees are aware of and adhere to the
> reporting requirement=20px, such as =20pxrequiring
> prescription benefi=20pxts administrators to send
> letters reminding =20pxemployees of the reporting
> requirement when they fill certain prescription
> =20pxdrugs=20px. H=20pxowever, as of
> =20pxDece=20pxmber 2018, the company=20px had not
> implemented any of =20pxthese measures

The "Preview" button included by TO is a wonderful thing to use.



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