Post-Accident and Post-Incident Drug and Alcohol Testing


Effective Date: Expiration Date: Chapters:
May 20, 2022 When Superseded 4  


Our drug and alcohol policies are designed to create a culture of safety. To promote workplace safety and health for all employees, employees who are involved in a significant accident or other workplace incident may be tested for drug or alcohol use. This issuance provides guidance on conducting drug and alcohol testing following an accident or incident involving one or more District government employees.

A Drug Free Workplace

The District government provides its employees with a drug-free workplace. For this reason, employees may not engage in the unlawful manufacturing, distribution, dispensing, possession, or use of a controlled substance while on duty. Employees are also prohibited from using, possessing, or being impaired by any drug or alcohol at work. This provision applies to any employee while at work, regardless of whether the employee is physically at their duty station, traveling on District government business, or in transit between duty stations; and regardless of whether their position is designated for enhanced suitability screening.

When an employee or volunteer is involved in a qualifying accident or incident during their tour of duty, the employee shall be required to undergo drug and alcohol testing to verify compliance with the drug-free workplace policy. Any employee or volunteer who tests positive for drugs or alcohol shall be subject to disciplinary action.

Post-Accident and Post-Incident Drug and Alcohol Testing

An accident or incident covered by this issuance is any event that involves one or more on-duty District government employees that results in personal injury, property damage, or both.

Employees shall undergo drug and alcohol testing whenever they are involved in an accident or incident that:

  • Results in loss of human life;
  • Involves one or more disabled vehicles (either owned by the District or privately owned) that must be towed;
  • Involves a bodily injury that requires immediate medical attention away from the scene;
  • Results in the issuance of a traffic citation to the employee for one or more moving traffic violations arising from the accident or incident;
  • Demonstrates reasonable grounds that the employee was under the influence of an intoxicating substance at the time of the accident or incident;
  • Demonstrates the actions of the employee cannot reasonably be discounted as a contributing factor using the best information available at the time of the decision; or
  • Results in serious damage to machinery, equipment, or other property.


When an accident or incident meets the above criteria, the employee shall notify their supervisory official immediately, and the supervisor shall make all required notifications and travel to the scene expeditiously. Whenever feasible, the supervisory official should have completed reasonable suspicion training and should be accompanied to the scene by a second supervisor also trained in reasonable suspicion procedure.

Emergency Services. In the event an employee or other involved individual requires medical care following an accident or incident, medical care shall not be delayed for the purpose of testing. If needed, employees should contact appropriate emergency services for assistance.

Reasonable Suspicion Observation

Upon arriving at the scene, a supervisory official(s) shall conduct a reasonable suspicion observation of the employee(s) to determine whether there is evidence suggesting the employee is impaired or otherwise under the influence of a drug or alcohol. Some signs of drug or alcohol impairment include:

  • Bloodshot eyes, or pupils larger or smaller than usual.
  • Unusually disheveled physical appearance.
  • Falling asleep or fainting.
  • Tremors, slurred speech, or impaired coordination.
  • Unusual smells on breath, body, or clothing.

The supervisor conducting the reasonable suspicion observation should immediately document their findings using the Reasonable Suspicion Observation Form. The supervisor will also prepare an incident report or similar document detailing the accident or incident with input from all involved parties and witnesses if available and attach any additional documents to the Reasonable Suspicion Observation Form. The Reasonable Suspicion Observation Form should be completed and submitted within 24 hours of the accident or incident or before the test results are released, whichever is earlier.

Reasonable Suspicion Observation Form. The Reasonable Suspicion Observation Form is an electronic form accessible through Office 365. Supervisors may complete this form from any mobile device. All necessary notifications will be made once the supervisor submits their observations on the electronic form.

Click Here for Reasonable Suspicion Observation Form

Referral for Testing

After the supervisory official performs a reasonable suspicion observation and documents his or her findings, they must refer the employee for testing by following these steps:

  1. Make the referral to DCHR: Report the relevant details of the accident or incident via telephone and complete the electronic Reasonable Suspicion Observation Form, supplying any supporting documents. After consulting DCHR, the supervisory official must notify their agency MDAT Coordinator or HR Advisors of the drug testing referral.
Monday-Friday, 9am - 5pm Collections
Brittany Richardson, Program Coordinator
[email protected]
Sierra Dangerfield, Compliance Manager
(202) 306-7221
 [email protected]
After Hours Collections
In the event an employee needs to be tested outside of normal business hours, contact Cherry Collections at (301) 792-5205 for a collector. The collection company will arrange the collection with the collector, agency’s representative, and the employee’s supervisor. 
  1. Receive confirmation: DCHR’s Compliance Team will review the information provided and determine if testing is warranted. If testing is not warranted, the agency will be notified to end testing efforts. If testing is warranted, DCHR will notify the agency’s point of contact of the time and location for the drug and alcohol testing.

If testing is required after normal business hours, the supervisor should contact the vendor directly. The vendor will make all collection arrangements and testing will proceed without prior confirmation from DCHR’s Compliance Team. The supervisor should still provide the documentation to DCHR’s Compliance Team as soon as possible.

  1. Prepare the employee for testing: The supervisor will inform the employee that he or she will be receiving a drug and alcohol test. The supervisor must remain with the employee until completion of the testing process, including during transport to a testing location if applicable. Union employees are entitled to representation from the first available union representative, if requested.
  2. Conduct testing promptly: A post-accident or post-incident alcohol test must be conducted within two hours of the accident or incident. If testing cannot be administered within two hours, the supervisor shall prepare a written record explaining the reason(s) the test was not administered promptly. If a post-accident or post-incident test cannot be administered within eight hours following the accident or incident, attempts to administer the test shall cease, with a written explanation as to the reason(s) the test was not completed. Written explanations shall be submitted to the DCHR Compliance Team.
  3. Transport the employee home: After the employee completes the required tests, the employee shall be relieved from their duties for the day and placed on administrative leave for the remainder of their scheduled shift. No supervisor shall permit an employee suspected of being under the influence to drive home. Instead, supervisors must take all necessary steps to ensure the employee is transported home safely. The employee should remain on administrative leave until the testing results are received.

All post-accident and post-incident drug and alcohol testing shall be assessed in accordance with § 427 of the District Personnel Manual.

Test Results and Suitability Determinations

Upon receipt of the results of the applicable test(s), the DCHR Compliance Team will issue an electronic suitability notification via email.

Negative Test Results

As it relates to drug and alcohol testing, the employee will be deemed suitable if the results are negative. The notification will state that the employee’s test results were negative and that the employee is suitable for continued employment. Agencies should take the following steps after receiving a suitable notification:

  1. Prepare and serve the employee with a return to duty notice; and
  2. Discuss with the employee why the test was conducted and the test results.

Positive Test Results - General

If the test results are positive, the outcome depends on the nature of the position occupied by the employee. If the position is “safety sensitive,” DCHR will initiate an appropriate administrative action against the employee, which may include termination. If the position is not “safety sensitive,” the employing agency will take disciplinary action consistent with its practices and procedures.

Safety Sensitive Employees

When a safety sensitive employee is found unsuitable due to a post-accident or post-incident drug and alcohol test, the agency must immediately send the materials listed below to DCHR’s Compliance Team:

  1. Position description
  2. Previous progressive disciplinary actions
  3. Personnel evaluations for the last 3 years
  4. Completed Reasonable Suspicion Observation form(s)
  5. Accident or incident reports from all available witnesses
  6. Collective bargaining agreement, if applicable
  7. Safety sensitive designation acknowledgment form signed by employee

DCHR’s Compliance Team will provide the agency additional guidance on next steps.

Other Employees (non-Safety Sensitive)

For employees not occupying safety sensitive positions, DCHR’s Compliance Team will notify the agency of the results. The agency must take either corrective or adverse action consistent with its past practice, internal policies, and Chapter 16 of the District Personnel Manual.

Presumption of Impairment by Cannabis

An employee who tests positive for cannabis after a post-accident or post-incident drug and alcohol test, shall be presumed to be impaired by cannabis. An employee may attempt to overcome this presumption such as by demonstrating that a medication the employee uses is limited to CBD with only trace amounts of THC, or that the employee’s use of cannabis was so remote in time from when the employee reported for duty as to not present a risk of impairment.

Supervisory Training

All managers and supervisors shall participate in reasonable suspicion training as follows:

  1. Every two years. All supervisory officials shall participate in reasonable suspicion training within 60 days of appointment to their supervisory position and, thereafter, at least once every two years.
  2. DCHR administers reasonable suspicion training. Reasonable suspicion training shall be administered through DCHR, or a qualified vendor approved by DCHR.
  3. Training content includes:
    1. Physical, behavioral, speech, and performance indicators of possible alcohol or drug impairment; and
    2. The confidentiality obligations of supervisors and managers relating to an employee’s suspected impairment and test results.

Office of Risk Management and Workers’ Compensation

The D.C. Office of Risk Management manages the District Public Sector Workers’ Compensation Program and provides District government agencies and employees with guidance and other services related to accidents and incidents in the workplace or involving on-duty District government employees. District government employees injured in an accident or incident, their representatives, and their supervisors should consult their designated Agency Risk Management Representative and supervisors must promptly notify the Office of Risk Management using the ERisk System.

Additional Information

For additional information concerning this instruction, please contact the D.C. Department of Human Resources, Policy and Compliance Administration, by calling (202) 442-9700 or by sending an email to [email protected].



All District government employees including those in independent agencies who are subject to Chapter 4 of the D.C. personnel regulations are subject to post-accident and post-incident drug and alcohol testing.

Issued by Interim Director E. Lindsey Maxwell II, Esq., D.C. Department of Human Resources on May 20, 2022, midnight