All You Need To Know About Faa Drug Testing

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is the United States’ primary transportation agency, regulating all elements of civil aviation both inside the country and across foreign waterways. Its responsibilities include air traffic control, personnel and aircraft certification, airport regulations, and the security of US interests during the deployment or re-entry of industrial space vehicles.

Are you new to the field of transportation? Want to know what is FAA drug testing? Drug and alcohol testing methods are in place for the sake of security, but they may have unwanted consequences. This kind of screening may help maintain your workplace safe and your employees healthy, which is valuable to your business on many levels. Read on to know all about the FAA drug testing and various ways it may test you.

What Is The Purpose Of FAA Drug Testing?

Flying is a risky, high-performance career, and no employer should ever recruit persons who may be drug users for such a job. The Department of Transportation designed the FAA drug screening policy to test its personnel for unlawful drug or alcohol usage.

How Did FAA Testing Policy Come Into Existence?

Federal agencies were forced to develop a drug-testing program for their personnel, and the Transportation department came up with a thorough one. The FAA was part of the chain, including testing procedures for federal aviation administration and backup pilots. Nowadays, almost all organizations and offices have a testing regime.

These standards apply to aircrew and traffic controllers and airport employees and technicians to provide a safe environment for its customers and staff.

Employees in the aviation business are seldom discovered to be addicted to drugs. However, according to recent reports from Air Transport News, an increasing number of pilots implicated in catastrophic incidents are abusing prescription or illegal narcotics.

Drug testing is required for pilots due to the great danger and responsibility inherent in the job. In reality, several private airlines have their drug testing programs in addition to FAA testing. If workers are discovered to be taking drugs, they must remain off the job and participate in a treatment program. If a second infringement is found, the employer may penalize or terminate the employee’s contract.

As An Airline Employee, How Do You Get Tested?

The testing methodology is followed in a particular sequence from pre-employment testing through periodic testing. Employers conduct drug tests under the Department of Transportation’s “Procedures for Transportation Workplace Drug Testing Programs,” as outlined in Section 120 of the Federal Aviation Regulations:


Before employing a new employee or moving from a non to a safety-sensitive position, an employer must undertake a pre-employment drug test. During the trial, the following chemicals are looked for:

  • Phencyclidine
  • Opiates
  • Marijuana
  • Crystal meth (Amphetamines)
  • Any metabolites linked to the chemicals listed above

Random drug testing:

This test entails randomly selecting 50 percent of workers and administering a drug test.

Drug testing after an accident or a tragedy:

You must do this within 32 hours after an accident. It includes workers who either contributed to or were hurt in a workplace mishap.

Drug testing for a good reason:

If an employee exhibits any behavior that suggests they are under the impact of a substance, they are subjected to a reasonable suspicion drug test.

Drug testing upon service return:

This approach tests employees who formerly came back positive for narcotics and are now permitted to return following rehab and treatment.

Drug testing in the future:

Employees who passed their return-to-duty drug screen are subjected to this procedure. For the first year, the average follow-up time is two months. It might be changeable depending on the company’s rules.

What Are The Reasonable Evidence Testing Rules Of The FAA?

The guidelines of each DOT department govern this testing. Each agency chooses how many inspectors are required to demand a drug or alcohol test based on reasonable suspicion.

The FAA needs two supervisors to agree to conduct a practical concern drug test. You must train one of the employees in recognizing drug use indications and symptoms.

However, there is an exemption to the two-supervisor norm. If a firm has 10 to 49 safety-sensitive workers, one qualified supervisor may perform a credible suspicion drug test. Unless the employer is a bearer of a part 121 certificate, part 121 license holders have operating responsibilities that extend beyond civil aircraft, necessitating more demanding testing requirements, regardless of size.

The FAA only needs one supervisor skilled in detecting indicators of alcohol use for this test. The supervisor’s inspections for liquor must be made soon before, during, or after safety-sensitive activities. Outside of specific times, consuming alcohol is not an offense.

Can You Get Disqualified From The Job Permanently?

The FAA, unlike other DOT departments, has permanent disqualification criteria. After many offenses, some agencies enable workers to repeat the DOT return-to-duty program. However, the FAA is not lenient. The two conditions are:

Second offense:

You are permanently barred from doing the safety-sensitive duties you were performing after the second drug screening or second alcohol offense if you obtain two failed drug test reports or two alcohol violations.

On-the-job use:

You can even be disqualified if you are detected using illegal substances or alcohol while conducting safety-sensitive activities. Use while on duty will result in automatic disqualification.

In conclusion

If you don’t follow all of the rules and regulations, including the FAA’s drug and alcohol detection procedures, you cannot perform your job. If you break the protocol, you will face a consequence, and, in the worst-case situation, the FAA will suspend your operations. The information listed above will assist you in making an informed decision. Do not take the FAA drug test lightly to remain compliant with regulations and keep your organization moving forward!

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