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Any workplace drug or alcohol testing program is only as good as the person who actually oversees the collection of specimens. If mistakes are made in the collection process, the entire test is likely to be voided.

In addition to federal government standard testing requirements, there are a number of best practices for collectors to follow when collecting for a drug or alcohol screening test. Based on Bostec’s long experience in the field, here are five important things to watch out for throughout the urine collection process:

Documentation: It’s important to maintain all of your training documentation as evidence that you have the knowledge you need. Retain your manual, certificate and custody and control (also known as chain of custody) forms. At any time, employers or representatives of the Department of Transportation, if DOT regulates your business, may request collector training records. Additionally, in the event of any legal action, the donor’s lawyer could request the training records from the employer. Develop a system to store them safely and securely.

Performance: As a collector, you should strive to be perfectly consistent in how you fulfill the collecting role. Maintain a clean and orderly work area, and follow the same collection sequence each time. Even signing the custody and control form in the same way each time can be important. Also, don’t forget to use scripted statements with each collection. Ad-libbing can get you into trouble, so just stick to your pre-planned statements.

Communication: When collecting a sample, always be polite and professional. Don’t make any remark that could cause a challenge to the collection. Instead, stick to the business at hand, using your scripted statements. Do not discuss policy issues with the donor — remember, you are a collector, not a friend or colleague.

Language: If you’re collecting from someone who doesn’t speak English, remember that the employer is responsible to provide an interpreter. In order to complete the collection, the collector and the donor must understand each other. If a language barrier prevents good communication, you’ll need to wait until an interpreter is present.

Regulations: It’s important, so it bears repeating: Never deviate from the rules and regulations. For those industries regulated by the DOT, the Office of Drug & Alcohol Policy & Compliance maintains a great website for keeping abreast of any changes to the law.

If you need any help maintaining your role as a collector, or if you need training on the responsibilities inherent in a workplace testing program, contact Bostec. We help companies in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska develop workplace testing programs, training staff and supplying them with the tools necessary to do the job right.

We also assist Whatcom County companies with implementation of their drug testing programs, offering a convenient location for employees to come for random or scheduled drug tests in a secure, controlled environment.

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