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Workplace Alcohol Testing with the Phoenix 6.0BT Evidential Breath Tester

By: Nicola Grun


The DOT rule 49 CFR Part 40 defines mandatory procedures for conducting workplace drug and alcohol testing within the federally regulated transportation industry. This includes all transportation workers in trucking, rail, airline and maritime, as well as self-employed individuals, contractors and volunteers who hold safety sensitive positions. Workplace Substance Abuse Testing outside of the mandated Department of Transportation (DOT) industries usually follows the DOT regulations closely but allows for individual company variation.

Differences Between DOT Mandated and Non-DOT Testing

The DOT testing regulations define who is covered, the employers’ testing responsibilities and the training and procedural requirements for collectors of urine specimens and breath alcohol samples. The regulations also cover the expectations for approved testing labs and the role of the Medical Review Officer. Subjects must submit to a mandatory five-panel drug test for Cocaine, Marijuana, Phycyclidine, Amphetamines, Methamphetamines and Opiates.

By comparison, non-DOT testing allows employers to adapt testing programs to their company’s needs. Employers may opt to test for additional drugs not included in the five-panel test and can collect urine, breath, hair and saliva specimens to screen on the spot. State and local laws set guidelines for non-DOT alcohol testing. More specifically, certified Breath Alcohol Technicians should use an evidential breath alcohol tester like the Lifeloc Phoenix 6.0BT. Results of evidential breath tests in the workplace can be used in a court of law.

Phoenix 6.0BT Testing Truck Driver

Conducting Breath Alcohol Tests with the Phoenix 6.0 – One Customer’s Experience

George Krebs is Consortium Manager and Certified Breath Alcohol Technician for ADC Testing Centers, Inc., a family owned collection center in Eugene, Oregon. DOT testing of workers at steel mills, railroads, windmills and commercially licensed truck drivers comprises 80-90% of ADC’s alcohol testing business; the remainder being non-DOT. ADC Testing Centers, Inc. performs mostly post–accident testing on the employer’s site, where both breath and urine samples are taken.

George found breath testing slow and cumbersome until he began using the Phoenix 6.0BT early this year. Said George of the Phoenix 6.0BT, "It’s so professional to pull up with it." Prior to deploying the Phoenix 6.0 BT, George needed to arrive early on the job site to set-up and plug in the test result printer. This also tied George to one location which was often inconvenient. Unlike his previous breath tester the Phoenix 6.0BT is completely mobile…no cables, docking stations or electrical outlets are required. Because the the Phoenix 6.0BT is so easy to use George has doubled the number of tests he can perform in a given amount of time. Previously he found it difficult to navigate the buttons and find the correct screens to initiate testing. "It was awkward to apologize to customers for the lengthy process these steps created," says George.

An Air Blank automatically triggers before a test, ensuring there is no residual alcohol vapor inside the unit from a previous sample. Negative results are immediate. Positive results are delivered in under 10 seconds and recovery time is less than 30 seconds. The Bluetooth printer is quiet, fast and prints easy-to-read test results on tamper-proof PermAffix™ self-adhesive labels. These labels are affixed permanently to either the DOT or non-DOT Alcohol Testing Form without need for tamper evident tape.

"There is a substantial cost up front to buy the Phoenix 6.0BT but we have an upper hand on the market since introducing Lifeloc’s products," he says. ADC Testing Centers, Inc. has lowered its testing costs due to the high volume of people they can accommodate, and George is certain that their prices are lower than his three competitors in Eugene. About a year ago George completed training with a Lifeloc distributor ADTS, which certifies him to use and calibrate the device each year.

Another Customer Experience

Bill Jones manages drug testing for the Medical Laboratory of Arkansas which conducts testing for Baptist Health Medical Centers’ facilities throughout the state. Foolproof results, a simple collection procedure and the choice of manual or auto testing modes have contributed to a decrease in evidential breath testing errors, shorter test time and Baptist Health’s ability to test more patients. Six years ago the laboratory purchased its first Phoenix 6.0BT to replace an outdated *Intoxilyzer breathalyzer. Since its introduction many of Baptist Health’s surrounding campuses have followed suit and now test with the Lifeloc Phoenix 6.0BT.

DOT Alcohol Test

Bill had two major complaints with his previous *Intoxilyzer unit. Clients with respiratory problems experienced difficulty blowing into the tester and printed results were often illegible. In comparison, Phoenix 6.0 BT operators have the option to select a manual override for clients with lung difficulties (shy lung), and Lifeloc’s EasyMode™ software alerts them of any mistakes. Medical Laboratory of Arkansas uses the Phoenix 6.0BT daily for on-site mandated DOT testing of workers in the trucking and logging industries, at local municipalities, police departments and in three major area hospitals. Non-DOT tests are performed on school bus drivers and at student events.

A Third Customer Experience

"The 6.0BT has it all and is the best!" says Janette McCollum, owner of Checkers, Inc., a 24 hour drug and alcohol test collection facility that services eastern Montana and western North Dakota. Checkers, Inc. owns 20 Phoenix 6.0BTs and performs 8,000 tests a year which is a drastic increase from the 108 tests completed in its beginning in 2004. Over the years the facility has used a variety of screening products in testing seven days a week, including Lifeloc’s Phoenix Classic that is soon to be discontinued. Although each change in screening device was positive, Janette feels that introducing an EBT with Lifeloc’s EasyMode™ software has eliminated opportunities for error.

Specialized Workplace Training from Lifeloc

Lifeloc offers everything you need as a Drug and Alcohol Testing Professional through our nationwide network of Master Trainers that can be customized to your business needs. Eligible candidates can earn certifications to use and calibrate our devices and train employees. Lifeloc’s products and training meet the US DOT’s rigorous requirements for mandated testing and are also used for non-regulated workplace alcohol testing. To find out more about our products or to learn about our specialized workplace training opportunities please call 303.431.9500 or email sales@lifeloc.com.

*Intoxilyzer™ is a registered trademark of CMI Incorporated and not associated in any way with Lifeloc Technologies, Inc.