Record Keeping for Alcohol Test Results: Employer Responsibilities for DOT Testing.
DOT regulations specify that the employer has the ultimate responsibility for keeping records of alcohol testing. A BAT who is a direct employee of a company and performs alcohol testing only on other employees of that company, may also have the additional administrative responsibility for keeping the alcohol testing records for that company. On the other hand, a BAT who acts as a service agent, and who performs alcohol testing for a number of companies, may or may not have the additional administrative responsibility of keeping records for each company. In either case, the BAT should be clear about whether a company has delegated to them the responsibility of keeping records on behalf of that company, of if they are responsible only for keeping records relating to the tests they perform as a BAT.
For the purpose of this article, we are only going to cover record keeping requirements and responsibilities for employers.
There are only a few types of alcohol testing records that employers must keep:
- Records of alcohol test results are the most obvious type of record that employers must keep. This record is the employer’s copy of the Alcohol Test Form. These records include negative tests, positive tests, as well as cancelled tests.
- Documentation of refusals to test is another record employer’s must keep. This record will be the Alcohol Test form, and may include additional documents that are attached to the form.
- Employers must keep records of accuracy checks and calibration adjustments of the evidential breath tester. This record is typically called a Calibration Log, and documents every accuracy check and calibration adjustment for each EBT. If the employer uses service agents to perform their alcohol testing, a BAT acting as a service agent will maintain the Calibration Log for the employer.
- Records of the inspection and maintenance of the Evidential Breath Tester is the last type of record that employers must keep. Inspections and repairs may be a part of the Calibration Log, or this information may be found in various documents that describe repairs any other service performed on the EBT. A BAT acting as a service agent will also keep this record for the employer.
So how long must the employer maintain breath alcohol test records?
One Year Records:
- Records of alcohol test results of less than .020. According to DOT regulations…these are negative results.
- Records of cancelled tests are also a one year record. A cancelled test may be the result of a problem with the Evidential Breath Tester, it may be the result of an error that was not corrected, or it may be the result of a fatal flaw in the test procedure.
Two Year Records:
- Records related to the inspection, maintenance, and calibration of the Evidential Breath Tester. Although DOT states that the calibration log is a two year record, we suggest a best practice is to keep this record for five years, which is how long the employer must keep positive test results. This would allow the employer to better defend the positive test result should it be disputed.
Five Year Records:
- Positive alcohol test results of .020 or greater
- Documentation of refusals to test. It’s logical that refusals are categorized as five year records along with positive tests, as the consequences of a refusal is the same as a positive alcohol test.
We’ve stated that it’s the employer’s responsibility to keep records. However, when employers contract with service agents to perform their alcohol testing, the employer typically does not have possession the Calibration Log, which is the record of accuracy checks and calibration adjustments. The BAT acting as a service agent maintains this record for the employer. At any time an employer may ask the BAT to provide a copy of the calibration log, and the BAT must be prepared to provide a copy to the employer. In practice, employers only ask for the copy of the calibration log when they are audited or when a positive alcohol test is disputed.
Proper record keeping ensures a more reliable, consistent and defensible alcohol testing program.