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Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) COVID-19 Notice

First Advantage has just become aware that PHMSA’s Assistant Administrator for Pipeline Safety issued a Notice of Stay of Enforcement and Notice of Enforcement Discretion to Operators Affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak on March 20, 2020

The Notice applies to compliance with, and enforcement of, 49 CFR Parts 192, 193, 195 and 199.

Specific to the PHMSA drug and alcohol testing regulation (Part 199) the Notice states:

“Operators are encouraged to fully use the flexibilities already afforded by part 199 regarding preemployment and random drug testing. Operators are permitted under the part 199 regulations to schedule the date, time, and location of the pre-employment drug test. Moreover, the regulations allow for random drug testing to be spread reasonably throughout the calendar year. PHMSA will consider using its enforcement discretion with regard to requirements found in 49 C.F.R. § 199.105(a) and (c). Operators who are unable to comply with these regulations should maintain documentation explaining what specific requirements are not being met, how the non-compliance is related to COVID-19, and what alternative measures are being taken to ensure safety. Operators should also communicate with their regulator as indicated in this notice.”

Operators who determine that they cannot comply with the regulations described in this notice because of challenges due to COVID-19 should promptly notify the following:

  • For operators regulated by PHMSA: Please contact PHMSA’s Office of Pipeline Safety by email at Pipeline-COVID-19-notices@dot.gov; and
  • For intrastate operators regulated by state authorities: Please contact your State Program Manager – State Program Manager contacts available at http://www.napsr.org/state-program-managers.html.

This notice is effective on March 20, 2020 and will remain in effect until further notice or modification by the Associate Administrator for Pipeline Safety, PHMSA. The Notice can be found at: https://www.phmsa.dot.gov/news/phmsa-stay-enforcement-covid-19

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