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MARITIME EMPLOYERS MUST CONDUCT RANDOM DRUG TESTS OF 50 PERCENT OF LICENSED CREWMEN

The U.S. Coast Guard issued a notice setting the minimum random drug testing rate for covered crewmembers on U.S. vessels for the year 2010 at 50%. Employees involved in serious marine incidents involving injuries, loss of life, collisions, sinkings, etc. must also be tested for drug and alcohol within two hours of the accident

Under 46 CFR 16.230, the Coast Guard requires marine employers to establish random drug testing programs for covered crewmembers on inspected and uninspected vessels.

Every marine employer is required by 46 CFR 16.500 to collect and maintain a record of drug testing program data for each calendar year, and submit this data by 15 March of the following year to the Coast Guard in an annual MIS report. Marine employers may either submit their own MIS reports or have a consortium or other employer representative submit the data in a consolidated MIS report.

The purpose of setting a minimum random drug testing rate is to assist the Coast Guard in analyzing its current approach for deterring and detecting illegal drug abuse in the maritime industry. The testing rate for calendar year 2010 is 50 percent.

The Coast Guard may lower this rate if, for two consecutive years, the drug test positive rate is less than 1.0 percent, in accordance with 46 CFR part 16.230(f)(2).

Since 2008 MIS data indicates that the positive rate is greater than one percent industry wide (1.53 percent), the Coast Guard announces that the minimum random drug testing rate will continue at 50 percent of covered employees for the period of January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010 in accordance with 46 CFR 16.230(e).

Each year, the Coast Guard will publish a notice reporting the results of random drug testing for the previous calendar year’s MIS data and the minimum annual percentage rate for random drug testing for the next calendar year.