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Random Alcohol Testing Of Pilots And Ground Staff  
User currently offlineJulianuk From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2006, 105 posts, RR: 0
Posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 8037 times:

today i was told by a representative of the civil aviation authority in the UK that pilots and ground staff could not be subject to random breath or blood tests for alcohol and that it had to be after a report or accusation before they could act - this i am told is the law in the UK

Is this the same worldwide - can the FAA for example choose a random pilot and breath test them?

J

[Edited 2006-06-24 01:54:56]

49 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineZkpilot From New Zealand, joined Mar 2006, 4830 posts, RR: 9
Reply 1, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 8034 times:

NZ has a policy of being able to randomly drug and alcohol test any employee in an operational role in the airline... that basically means all staff apart from Head Office.


56 types. 38 countries. 24 airlines.
User currently offlineKaddyuk From Wallis and Futuna, joined Nov 2001, 4126 posts, RR: 25
Reply 2, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 8026 times:

It used to apply to Operating Crew only, however my company now has a detailed Drugs & Alcohol policy which allows anyone in the company (Operational Or Not) to be tested while on duty at work. It is a contractual agreement that you will take them and i belive refusal is a sackable offence.

It does however raise the question. If you're found at work to have previously taken drugs, however not being under their influence at work. Does the company honestly have valid grounds for dismissal?

It is also possible to test +ve for Opium if you eat a poppy seeded bun...



Whoever said "laughter is the best medicine" never had Gonorrhea
User currently offlineGQfluffy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 8021 times:

Quoting Kaddyuk (Reply 2):
It is also possible to test +ve for Opium if you eat a poppy seeded bun...

Urban Myth. Well...maybe I'll believe it...if you've eaten like a dozen of them in 10 minutes then go in and pee in a cup....


User currently offlineN8076U From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 425 posts, RR: 9
Reply 4, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 8019 times:

When I worked for UA as a mechanic (in the United States), we were subjected to random drug (piss) tests AND random alcohol (breathalyzer) tests. The pilots were also subject to these tests. If you were involved in an incident they would make you take the drug test, and the alcohol breath test as well if they suspected you were tipsy.

My number came up twice in regards to the random alcohol test, the funny thing was, the supervisor told me to go get tested, and then gave me the keys to a van to drive myself over there.  Wink

Chris



Don't blame me, I don't work here...
User currently offlineBarney Captain From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 965 posts, RR: 13
Reply 5, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 8001 times:

In the U.S it boils down to: Pre-employment, post-accident, probable cause, and random screenings. Also I believe after an extended leave of absence.

Quoting N8076U (Reply 4):
Urban Myth. Well...maybe I'll believe it...if you've eaten like a dozen of them in 10 minutes then go in and pee in a cup....

It happened to a friend of mine (NWA FA). Small girl, no other food, 2 poppy seed muffins, and blammo, false positive. It never went any further than the required call from the physician who must have suspected the false positive in the first place as the "muffin factor) seemed to satisfy his curiosity.



...from the Banana Republic....
User currently offlineLincoln From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 3887 posts, RR: 8
Reply 6, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 7990 times:

For the US DOT view on it, start at http://www.dot.gov/ost/dapc/

"[The] Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991 requires drug and alcohol testing of safety-sensitive transportation employees in aviation, [...] and other transportation industries. DOT publishes rules on who must conduct drug and alcohol tests, how to conduct those tests and what procedures to use when testing. These regulations cover all transportation employers, safety-sensitive transportation employees and service agents -roughly 12.1 million people."

Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations also has some useful info, as sumarized in http://www.dot.gov/ost/dapc/NEW_DOCS/Part40_complete_20041109_A.pdf

But the short answer is, in the US, airlines are REQUIRED to randomly test employees in safety-sensitive positions.

Lincoln



CO Is My Airline of Choice || Baggage Claim is an airline's last chance to disappoint a customer || Next flts in profile
User currently offlineGreasespot From Canada, joined Apr 2004, 3084 posts, RR: 20
Reply 7, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 7982 times:

No random testing here in Canada....

GS



Sometimes all you can do is look them in the eye and ask " how much did your mom drink when she was pregnant with you?"
User currently offlineZkpilot From New Zealand, joined Mar 2006, 4830 posts, RR: 9
Reply 8, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 7960 times:

Quoting Greasespot (Reply 7):
No random testing here in Canada....

Well Canadians are one of the highest (if not the highest) users of cannibis  spin 



56 types. 38 countries. 24 airlines.
User currently offlineDALMD88 From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 2554 posts, RR: 14
Reply 9, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 7959 times:

The Faa can test you for random Drug and Alcohol tests. I find it as a violation of my civil liberties, but to keep a job I have little choice. By now it has been batted through the courts and have been found legal. I still think it is illegel search and a violation of my fifth amendemnt rights. If I ever lose my job over a test that is how I intend on winning it back.

I am a true believer on personal rights. What someone does on their own, if it doesn't effect others is their deal. Drugs and alcohol abuse are not the big problem in aviation. The big deal is sleep deprivation. I've worked on third shift for thirteen years. I would much rather have a guy that has come on shift that has eight hours of sleep coming off a pot smoking party than a guy that has been up for 16 hours because it is his Monday and He didn't get a chance to catch a nap because his kid had a little league game that night.

I know It sounds bad. Dad wants to be the good parent and go to the game, vs some young guy partying till 6am and sleeping untill a few hours before work. I think a well rested pot smoker is in better shape to do the job. I think it is a close tie between the hungover and the sleep deprived.

In my thirteen years of third shift I have been in all of those catagories. In the early years working shelving groceries I spent a lot of time in the first two catagories. Once I moved to aviation I had to give up the first, and cut back on the second, but as the years went on the third came on with a vengeance. The pressure to live a 'normal' life' like civil people is pretty tough once you marry a daytime person. I still don't understand how those with kids do it. After ten years of wedded bliss my wife still has a tough time coping even though I have been on thirds for nine years of our twelve year relationship.


User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31684 posts, RR: 56
Reply 10, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 7936 times:

Out here.AMEs need to be Sober 12 hrs prior to Reporting at Work.
Any Staff.pilots,AMEs or any Staff on the Company roll can be randomly be asked to undergo a test,if there is any doubt of the person behaving abnormal.
The test could Include Urine,Breath Analayser or Blood.

Quoting DALMD88 (Reply 9):
The pressure to live a 'normal' life' like civil people is pretty tough once you marry a daytime person. I still don't understand how those with kids do it. After ten years of wedded bliss my wife still has a tough time coping even though I have been on thirds for nine years of our twelve year relationship.

I've been at it since 1989.5 nights/week.With the Kids mom working Day.The Weekends are the only time for Enjoyment.Thanks to Grandparents We can Manage well.

regds
MEL



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineCosmicCruiser From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 2255 posts, RR: 15
Reply 11, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 7918 times:

Quoting DALMD88 (Reply 9):
If I ever lose my job over a test that is how I intend on winning it back.

Yea you do that and you'll still be in the unemployment line like a couple of guys I worked with. Even the union can't help in a failure of a drug test.

Quoting DALMD88 (Reply 9):
I would much rather have a guy that has come on shift that has eight hours of sleep coming off a pot smoking party than a guy that has been up for 16 hours because it is his Monday and He didn't get a chance to catch a nap because his kid had a little league game that night.

jeeez!


User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 12, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 7913 times:

Quoting Barney Captain (Reply 5):
In the U.S it boils down to: Pre-employment, post-accident, probable cause, and random screenings. Also I believe after an extended leave of absence.

That last is correct, return to duty testing. There is also 'followup' testing and for pilots add 'periodic' tests at every flight physical.

Amazingly, in all the years these rules were in force I never once came up on a random. I guess it is truly random.

I always thought drug testing for pilots was a waste of money and I don't believe there has ever been a single clear-cut case where drugs were a factor in a commercial aviaition accident. Alcohol, on the other hand seems to be the drug of choice for pilots and I'll bet there is a pilot with an illegal BA level on duty with a reputable US airline at this very second.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 13, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 7910 times:

Quoting DALMD88 (Reply 9):
I find it as a violation of my civil liberties, but to keep a job I have little choice.

I felt much the same way. The catch is, the Constitution does not guarantee your right to work at a specific job, such as at an airline. So if you want to do that it is more of a 'privilege' than a 'right' and it may be subject to some controls.

It is illegal to discriminate against a person on the basis of a handicap but do you know any blind pilots?

Quoting DALMD88 (Reply 9):
I still think it is illegel search and a violation of my fifth amendemnt rights. If I ever lose my job over a test that is how I intend on winning it back.

You won't win it back. You will lose your case. Drug testing was upheld by the US Supreme Court nearly twenty years ago. I think the case was "Bluestein vs the Secretary of Transportation et al" but my memory isn't what it once was.

Now if you want injustice, how about this: Elizabeth Dole imposed drug testing on rampers and bag smashers but not on herself. Senators, Congresspersons are still not drug tested. The US Supreme Court that gets to decide issues like this is still not drug tested. Their work is not deemed as important as that of a ramper, I guess.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineCosmicCruiser From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 2255 posts, RR: 15
Reply 14, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 7906 times:

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 12):
Alcohol, on the other hand seems to be the drug of choice for pilots and I'll bet there is a pilot with an illegal BA level on duty with a reputable US airline at this very second.

Yea SlamClick you're probably right. Don't you agree that alcohol is the drug of choice for a couple of reasons. It's legal and on layovers where you really don't have anything to do except kill time it CAN become the BIG time killer. Bottom line is, you gotta have control. Pot on the other hand is, at the moment, illegal and the odor is very, very hard to diguise....busted.

As for random testing I've been snagged a few times, seems I got picked a couple of times in one month and then it was a while before the next call. Ramp control will call the flight on taxi in and just give the employee no. that's to be tested. After block in you cannot pass go or collect $200 till the test is done!


User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 15, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 7901 times:

Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 14):
Ramp control will call the flight on taxi in and just give the employee no. that's to be tested. After block in you cannot pass go or collect $200 till the test is done!

That was another problem I had with the system. They waited until the crew had flown their trip before testing them.

One reason might be that you could not later claim the 'defense' that you would not have actually performed duties under that condition. Problem is; what do you want to have happen. If you have any reason at all to believe that a flight crew needs to be tested (even if that reason is only that their number has come up) then you need to do it BEFORE they have the flying public in their hands.

I believe it was just so the airline would not be inconvenienced if a crewmember popped positive. In other words to save a few bucks on not having an on-premise reserve, they were permitted to use crewmembers who MIGHT be on drugs. And if you argue that you know they are NOT on drugs then why test them at all?



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineBarney Captain From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 965 posts, RR: 13
Reply 16, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 7874 times:

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 12):
add 'periodic' tests at every flight physical.

I've never heard of drug testing during flight physicals. Was this a company thing?

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 15):
In other words to save a few bucks on not having an on-premise reserve, they were permitted to use crewmembers who MIGHT be on drugs. And if you argue that you know they are NOT on drugs then why test them at all?

Yes, the hypocrisy is astounding. Between twice a year sim checks, random drug/alcohol tests, annual line checks, daily (while at work) TSA screening, random FAA route checks, twice a year physicals, and a certain percentage of our pax scrutinizing us to make sure were "ok", I can't think of another profession so under the microscope.

Before I get "shot out of the sky" for my comments, understand that I'm not advocating that we don't get tested and evaluated. I'm just wondering how much of the above is really based on need for correcting a legitimate problem, and how much is political reactionism (like drug testing).



...from the Banana Republic....
User currently offlineCosmicCruiser From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 2255 posts, RR: 15
Reply 17, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 7859 times:

Quoting Barney Captain (Reply 16):
Between twice a year sim checks, random drug/alcohol tests, annual line checks, daily (while at work) TSA screening, random FAA route checks, twice a year physicals, and a certain percentage of our pax scrutinizing us to make sure were "ok", I can't think of another profession so under the microscope.

Amen! I don't think doctors even get recurrency chks or drug chks. whas up with that?

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 15):
If you have any reason at all to believe that a flight crew needs to be tested (even if that reason is only that their number has come up) then you need to do it BEFORE they have the flying public in their hands.

Yea that's always been the joke....I would imagine that almost every pilot , if called before a flight, would "hold it" and "not be able to pee" until 5 min past show time! How many guys would be going home after being subbed off a 12 day trip! Whoa! In reality the breathalizer is the only test where the results are immediate and the drug test are sent off to a lab eliminating any real time results. Of course you can't call them in an hr. before because now duty time has started which could be important on long int'l trips. So now you can call them in a day early and pay a min duty period but then the commuters will scream bloody murder. Hopefully most guys/girls wouldn't let another pilot fly if there was a problem but then if they BOTH have a problem there's no self policing. Thankfully it appears that the mandated percentages have been lowered and you see fewer these days. Just remember... Don't drink within 50' of the aircraft and don't smoke 8 hrs prior to duty! LOL


User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 18, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 7856 times:

Quoting Barney Captain (Reply 16):
I've never heard of drug testing during flight physicals. Was this a company thing?

No, it was FARs. Part 121 Appendix I, § V. B. reads in part:
Periodic Testing. Each employee who performs a safety sensitive function for an employer and who is required to undergo a medical examination under Part 67 of this chapter shall submit to a periodic drug test...


The clause permits discontinuing periodic drug testing after completion of the first year of the company's drug testing program, which is probably its present status with your company. I went through this because I was already onboard when drug testing came along. For airlines with ongoing programs its functions have been absorbed into other tests.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31684 posts, RR: 56
Reply 19, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 7806 times:

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 15):
That was another problem I had with the system. They waited until the crew had flown their trip before testing them.

Out here its done Prior to Flight.Wouldn't that be a Plus Safety Point of View.
regds
MEL



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineDl_mech From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 1950 posts, RR: 9
Reply 20, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 7730 times:

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 13):
Now if you want injustice, how about this: Elizabeth Dole imposed drug testing on rampers and bag smashers but not on herself. Senators, Congresspersons are still not drug tested.

Mechanics are subject to random drug and alcohol tests, but the engineers who write up the paperwork that we use (AD's,EO's,SB's) are not.



This plane is built to withstand anything... except a bad pilot.
User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31684 posts, RR: 56
Reply 21, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 7710 times:

Quoting Dl_mech (Reply 20):
Mechanics are subject to random drug and alcohol tests, but the engineers who write up the paperwork that we use (AD's,EO's,SB's) are not

Whats the Logic.Out here its Both.
regds
MEL



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineLMP737 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 7682 times:

Quoting N8076U (Reply 4):
My number came up twice in regards to the random alcohol test, the funny thing was, the supervisor told me to go get tested, and then gave me the keys to a van to drive myself over there

Same thing happened to me a couple months ago. Supervisor tells me I have a random alcohol test and then handed me the keys to a company van. Good thing I wasn't liqueured up!


User currently offlineRedcordes From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 245 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 7678 times:

A friend flew for US Airways for many years, and he used to say that there has never been a case of an alcohol-related, commercial-aviation accident in recent US history--I've no idea of the accuracy of this statement. He also used to say that he worried more about the teetotaler, uptight pilots he shared the cockpit with.


"The only source of knowledge is experience." A. Einstein "Science w/o religion is lame. Religion w/o science is blind."
User currently offlineAogdesk From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 935 posts, RR: 3
Reply 24, posted (8 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 7652 times:

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 13):
The US Supreme Court that gets to decide issues like this is still not drug tested. Their work is not deemed as important as that of a ramper, I guess.

Um.......if they started drug and alcohol testing for members of Congress, the House and Senate halls and chambers would look like a ghost town. Oh wait, I forgot, its always "medication" that they always claim they were under the influence of.....  Wink


25 EMBQA : Actually, no... it's for real. Myth Busters, the Discovery Channel show did just this myth and proved it ws for real. One of the guys ate a small Pop
26 Don81603 : That would depend on the sensitivity of the test. We have had false positives from a worker eating a poppy seed bagel.
27 Don81603 : WRONG!!!! In Ontario, the provincial Gov't ruled random testing a civil rights violation (what about everyone else's rights?). But other than that, D
28 Post contains images Don81603 : Other than RyanAir? Try the trucking industry! I'm not sure which would be more closely regulated, but it would be very close. We can (and do) get pu
29 Post contains links T prop : Did this accident help get the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991 in place? T prop.
30 WildcatYXU : Very true, Sir. The test kits distributed for random checks can't be considered a quantitative test by any means, the only reliable one is the blood
31 UAL Bagsmasher : I was reading some time ago they were going to move to hair samples instead of urine for greater accuracy. Anyone else heard about this?
32 HAWK21M : How does that Work. regds MEL
33 Don81603 : My first thought was "What about the bald guys?"
34 Bri2k1 : The evidence of drugs in the bloodstream is transfered to any growing hair and stored in the follice. Extracting a single hair for analysis can provi
35 EasternSon : How about you stop using drugs and keep your job. Look at the bright side, you may not be able to get high, but at least you won't be endangering peo
36 Dougloid : From a legal standpoint there's no constitutional right to work in any particular occupation. So that argument's a non starter. Any allegedly illegal
37 HAWK21M : Interestng.Any Link to this Technology. regds MEL
38 MD11Engineer : As a shift leader in maintenance, if one of my guys would come in smelling of or dope (I'm not allowed to do invasive tests), I'll send him home. If i
39 Bri2k1 : I'm sure there are.
40 HAWK21M : Do you have the Link. regds MEL
41 FlyMatt2Bermud : We have to fill out 'chain of custody' paperwork prior to submitting a sample for drug analysis. On all the forms I have seen there is a question pert
42 LTBEWR : One of the key events that led to drug testing of transportation employees in the USA was a deadly Amtrak accident in Maryland in the late 1980's IIRC
43 FlyMatt2Bermud : Thanks LTBEWR, I didn't know CDI holders were subject to a zero tolerance policy. I agree with your statement. I have never had a DUI/DWI charge, but
44 LTBEWR : As to DWI/DUI and CDL's, if one is found to be DWI/DUI, even at a .01% level (effectively 'zero-tolarnce), while operating a vehicle requireing a CDL,
45 Post contains links Dougloid : OK guys. This is the attorney speaking. If you get asked to give a random drug sample, the next thing you should be doing is to get out your cell pho
46 Bri2k1 : Yes. Yes I do.
47 SlamClick : Not for FAA testing. I don't mean that the phenomenon will never occur. I just mean that they do not ever use that phrase. They call it something els
48 Dougloid : Well, of course not. Do you expect the Friendly Aviation Administration to get up in public and admit that the process they've hung their hat on can
49 HAWK21M : Would Appreciate you sharing it for the Rest. regds MEL
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