Safety Sensitive Advisory

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Definition - What does Safety Sensitive Advisory mean?

A Safety Sensitive Advisory refers to an attached label on a urine specimen that receives an otherwise negative test result where drug metabolites in the system correlate with prescribed medication(s), granting drug clearance pending employer discretion. A Medical Review Officer (MRO) is a liaison between an applicant/employee and their employer, collating information of prescription use where side effects, secondary to an individual’s qualifications, pose a hazard.

SureHire explains Safety Sensitive Advisory

Generally, drug testing protocol relies on a cut-and-dry methodology, where a positive or negative test result is standard. However, some individuals may meet the criteria for an exception to the rule based on a prescribed drug that might require a Safety Sensitive Advisory before an employer decides to appoint a job candidate/current employee to a safety-sensitive position. The MRO will interview the subject in question bolstered by relevant documentation warranting a prescribed medication(s) as proof to validate claims of an existing health condition, exempting a Safety Sensitive Advisory case designation. The Construction Owners Association of Alberta (COAA) is shaping drug testing policies aligned with the Department of Transportation (DOT) model, coordinated by an MRO and the Designated Employer Representative (DER) when factoring Safety Sensitive Advisory fitness/return to work privileges. An individual must consult their physician inside a five-day interval following safety concern questions raised by the MRO surrounding prescribed medications, bracketing the decision to assign a Safety Sensitive Advisory status alongside a negative test result pending approval. While a Safety Sensitive Advisory with a negative test result seems counterintuitive, employers must weigh primary factors where classes/subclasses of drugs and their prescribed dosage serve as a concession against potential liability. The basis for this approach stems from certain prescribed medications, for example, opioids capable of inducing cognitive impairment, leaving individuals susceptible to experience decreased alertness, slow motor reflexes, and lethargy.

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