There is a Shortage of Collection Cups. Here is How it Impacts Your Drug Testing Program
A nationwide plastics shortage is creating challenges for DOT-regulated employers and their employees– some of whom are finding it difficult to meet their federally-mandated drug testing requirements.
The reason? Drug testing facilities don’t have enough collection cups.
This is creating problems among employers who are trying to hire new employees or fulfill their random testing requirements in a timely manner – but who are challenged with finding a drug testing facility in their area that has the supplies needed to complete the test.
What is Causing the Delays?
The polypropylene and polyethylene supply chain took a significant hit the last few years. Not only were these materials in high demand as the need for personal protective equipment (PPE) spiked, but COVID-related labor shortages has made it difficult for plastics producers to keep up.
Then, the supply chain took an even harder hit in February when a catastrophic winter storm hit Texas – putting the state in a deep freeze and creating widespread power outages. This put a halt on the nation’s primary source of these key plastics and created even greater shortages and production delays that the industry is still struggling to recover from.
What is Being Done to Address the Issue?
While the DOT has been made aware of the issue, they have not issued any waivers or guidance for employers struggling to meet their federally-mandated drug testing requirements due to the collection cup shortage.
However, the DOT did just authorize the continued use of the 2017 Custody and Control Form to alleviate some of the delays carriers have been experiencing due to that transition. As of November 23, 2021, employers who use the previous version of the Custody and Control Form won’t need to complete a memorandum for the record to submit along with their form. This extension, which is in effect until August 31, 2023 was granted due to a short supply of the carbonless paper used to create the forms. You can read the full update here.
What Can You Do?
Planning ahead (as well as a little patience) will be key to navigating these supply chain issues. While there’s nothing we can do to ensure the collection sites have the supplies needed to perform our tests, we can do the following:
- Communicate with employees about these shortages to ensure they go for testing as soon as they possibly can. The sooner they get to the collection site – the more time you’ll have to account for problems should they arise.
- Call collection sites ahead of time to make sure they have the supplies needed to perform your employee’s urine drug screen at the time of their appointment.
- Use Foley’s collection site locator to find alternate sites in your area so that you have options to choose from.
- Make the switch from paper to digital Custody and Control Forms. While this won’t help the collection cup shortage, it will streamline the testing process and improve both the accuracy and turnaround time of your results.
If you are a customer in our DOT drug and alcohol testing program, please know that we are working hard to help you meet your federally-regulated drug testing requirements without additional work on your part. If you have any questions or concerns about these shortages – or need help finding a collection site for your employee – please reach out to our customer support team for help. We’ll provide whatever assistance we can to keep your program moving along smoothly.