Marine employers must differentiate between drug testing required by 46 CFR Part 16 and tests mandated by company policy. These two types of tests cannot be mixed.
Part 16 testing, conducted under Coast Guard authority, must strictly adhere to its regulations and use the appropriate Federal Drug Testing Custody and Control Form.
This ensures that if a Part 16 test is conducted correctly, there is a presumption of drug use by the mariner, increasing the likelihood of remedial action.
On the other hand, non-Part 16 tests ordered by employers should have an independent basis and be documented using a Non-Federal Drug Testing Custody and Control Form to avoid confusion and enhance admissibility during hearings.
Violating 49 CFR § 40.13(f) may lead to civil penalties, so using the correct form for company policy-based tests is crucial to avoid such liabilities.
In summary, employers should:
(1) clearly separate Part 16 and non-Part 16 drug testing,
(2) justify Coast Guard-mandated testing under Part 16,
(3) use Federal Drug Testing Custody and Control Forms for Part 16 tests, and
(4) refrain from using these forms for non-DOT or non-Part 16 tests.