Drug And Alcohol Testing For Foreign Aircraft Repair Shops To Become Mandatory 

There has been a development with regard to drug and alcohol testing in foreign aircraft repair shops and everybody seems to be welcoming this change. The FAA has proposed to enhance aviation safety by introducing a new regulation. According to this new rule, aircraft maintenance is going to be a lot more stringent, especially when it comes to repair stations located outside the US. 

In settings where employees work on air carrier aircraft, the focus is going to be to ensure that all these workers go through rigorous drug and alcohol testing programs. This change has not been sudden but brewing for quite some time now. The biggest objective that it will achieve is that of aligning overseas stations with the safety standards that are being practiced in the US. So yes, these stations are required now to adopt a drug and alcohol testing program that is compliant with the rules and regulations applicable in the US. The Federal Aviation Administration is working with the Department of Transportation to put these guidelines in place.

Understanding The Proposed Rule For Mandatory Drug And Alcohol Testing

This is a statutory mandate that the Federal Aviation Administration is bringing about. It is going to regulate drug and alcohol testing at certification part 145 repair stations that are located outside US borders.

  • Who Is The Target?

This rule pertains particularly to Part 145 repair stations located outside the country. Drug and alcohol testing programs will be implemented for all employees and safety-sensitive maintenance functions will be included in this rule (Part 121 Air Carrier Aircraft).

  • Understanding Compliance

The program implemented has to comply with the laws of the country where the repair station is located.

  • Requirements You Must Fulfill

The criteria mentioned in 49 CFR Part 40 and 14 CFR Part 120 shall apply.

  • Are There Any Exemptions Or Waivers?

There are certain exemptions as well. In the event that any repair station fails to comply with certain requirements due to conflicting local laws, they may seek exceptions to this rule under 49 CFR 40.7.

Responsibilities Of The Employer

  • Enforcement Of The Rule

This rule will be enforced by Part 121 operators and they will make sure that any person whether he or she is directly or indirectly employed or contracted or in any capacity performing any safety-sensitive functions is subject to this new drug and alcohol testing program.

  • What About Domestic Repair Stations?

This is also an important consideration. Part 145 repair stations within the country are allowed to implement a program but they are not mandated to do so. For example, if any domestic repair station does not have any testing program in place, Part 121 operators are at liberty to include the safety-sensitive employees of the repair station in their own FAA drug and alcohol testing program.

  • Understanding What All Employees Are Covered

This is also critical. Where Part 121 operators associate with domestic repair stations that do not have any testing program, the operators are required to consider their employees as their own so that they can be included in the drug and alcohol testing program.

Legal Basis, Objectives, And Utility Of The Proposed Rule By The Federal Aviation Administration

  • Mandating Drug And Alcohol Testing

This proposed rule is going to require these repair stations to implement a drug and alcohol testing program for every employee performing maintenance responsibilities on Part 121 air carrier aircraft.

  • Maintaining Compliance Standards

There are other standards also that these repair stations must adhere to. These are outlined in 49 CFR Part 40 and 14 CFR Part 120.

  • Legislative Mandates

The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (49 USC 44733)’s Section 308 and the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act 2016’s Section 2112 fully support this rule proposed by the federal body. 

  • The Costs Involved Or Estimated 

There is an estimate of the costs that will accrue to all small entities. The total is going to be somewhere around $118.1 million over a span of 5 years. This cost is going to be for the program development process, training, testing, and also documentation/paperwork.

  • Compliance Requirements That Need To Be Fulfilled

Recordkeeping and reporting

All repair stations will need to keep a record of their testing programs, certifications, and maintenance-related procedures. Training records and testing data will also have to be kept regularly.

  • Compliance-Related Costs

There are compliance-related costs as well that come out to be somewhere a little more than $20,000. This will again comprise program development, training, testing, and documentation/paperwork.

Interconnectivity With The Global Aviation Sector

This rule requires overseas repair stations to uphold the stringent testing program rules and regulations that the US practices. All the while, international legal norms and rules will also be followed. Therefore, it is safe to say that this act demonstrates a highly balanced approach to ensuring the safety of everyone involved in this sector. It also emphasizes the importance of international collaboration which is necessary to maintain higher standards of global air travel.

Conclusion

The rule that has been proposed by the Federal Aviation Administration for Drug and alcohol testing is going to impact international trade and will raise the standards of compliance for every player. According to the latest developments, the government is focusing on training sample collectors such as breath alcohol technicians and laboratory technicians as well. The proficiency of these professionals needs to be elevated so that the samples collected are more accurate and remain reliable and usable for testing. Inadequate training is only going to result in safety lapses which is eventually going to negatively impact the aviation sector as a whole. The FAA is committed to maintaining the highest safety standards when it comes to aviation maintenance globally.

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