The FAA has proposed a $90,000 civil penalty against Woods Aviation, alleging drug and alcohol testing violations.
The FAA has alleged that Woods Aviation transferred an employee to a safety-sensitive position and allowed the employee to perform safety-sensitive functions before verified negative drug test results were received. The agency also alleges that the company allowed three other safety-sensitive employees to perform safety-sensitive tasks without drug and alcohol testing.
The FAA has further alleged that six of the recently hired safety-sensitive employees were excluded from a random mandatory drug and alcohol testing pool due to an inability to appropriately establish a random drug and alcohol pool. The agency has given Woods Aviation 30 days to respond.
Safety-sensitive employees are required by the FAA to undergo Federal drug and alcohol testing in the aviation industry. A safety-sensitive employee is in a position where an accident could potentially cause loss of human life, serious bodily harm or significant environmental or property damage. According to the FAA, each employer must ensure that a selection of employees for random testing is made by a scientifically valid method and all of the safety-sensitive employees are included in the testing pool.
The company is then required to report any violations for the following: employees that hold a medical certificate issued under 14 CFR part 67; the refusal of testing from any person holding an airman certificate issued under 14 CFR part 61, 63 or 65; any pilot seeking employment as a pilot must have violations entered into the Pilot Records Database. For pilots that do not hold an airman or medical certificate, reporting to the FAA is not required.
The Drug Abatement Division oversees the industry's compliance with testing law and regulations through on-site inspections, providing guidance and establish policy to increase the program's effectiveness.RELATED STORY:Aircraft buzzing by? What pilots should keep in mind from bottle to throttle
The FAA has proposed similar penalties in the past. On April 10, 2020 the FAA proposed a $156,000 civil penalty against Delta Air Lines for drug and alcohol testing violations, claiming Delta had transferred 45 workers into safety-sensitive positions without obtaining testing records on top of further allegations about workers performing work without being in the testing pool and failing to conduct follow-up tess for employees that had tested positive in the past. On Oct. 9, 2020 the FAA proposed an $83,000 civil penalty against AirMed International for drug and alcohol testing violations. The FAA alleged that AirMed hired 21 employees in safety-sensitive positions but failed to enter them into the random testing pool and transferred one employee into a safety-sensitive position without verifying a negative test.
Similarly to driving, most licensed individuals know not to consume drugs or alcohol before getting behind the wheel. Pilots are taught to wait eight hours from bottle to throttle, while some abstain longer before taking control of an aircraft. Even those that are not actively in a safety-sensitive position or subjected to drug and alcohol testing must understand the importance of flying without impairment and keeping the sky safe.