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FAA - Federal Aviation Administration Drug Testing

FAA Drug Testing

Employers regulated by the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are required to have a comprehensive drug and alcohol testing program. This includes air carriers and aircraft maintenance or preventive maintenance operations.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) required drug and alcohol testing programs falls under Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations 49 CFR Part 40. Testing is required by the Omnibus Transportation Employees Testing Act of 1991 and by DOT and FAA regulations (49 CFR part 40 and 14 CFR part 120). The FAA Drug Abatement Division oversees the aviation industry's compliance with the drug and alcohol testing law and regulations.

FAA Part 120 applies to the following employers:

  • All air carriers and operators certificated under part 119 of this chapter and authorized to conduct operations under Part 121 and/or part 135.
  • All air traffic control facilities not operated by the FAA or by or under contract to the U.S. military.
  • All operators conducting sightseeing operations as defined in 14 CFR § 91.147.
  • Part 145 certificate holders who perform safety-sensitive functions and elect to conduct drug and alcohol testing under Part 120.
  • Contractors who perform safety-sensitive functions and elect to conduct drug and alcohol testing under Part 120.

Designated Employer Representative

An FAA regulated company must appoint a Designated Employer Representative (DER) as the person in charge of the company’s drug and alcohol testing program. The DER shall be responsible for providing oversight and evaluation of the drug and alcohol testing program; providing guidance and counseling; reviewing of all discipline applied under this plan for consistency and conformance to human resources policies and procedures; scheduling for types of testing (random, post-accident, reasonable suspicion, etc.); maintaining a locked file system on all test results; and overseeing the referral of employees for evaluation and treatment.

The Designated Employer Representative, or DER, is an employee authorized to take immediate action to remove employees from (or have them removed from) safety-sensitive duties and to make required decisions in the testing and evaluation processes. The DER function cannot be outsourced. Click Here for DER awareness information from the FAA.

The position of DER is a huge responsibility for a company employee. Fortunately training for DER’s is available. US Drug Test Centers can offer to DER’s a comprehensive training program delivered by:

  • Live in person training
  • Live webinar training
  • Computer based online training

Getting Started

Starting an FAA drug and alcohol testing program is not an easy task. US Drug Test Centers can provide expert assistance to get you started. US Drug Test Centers can act as your Consortium/Third-Party Administrator (C/TPA) a service agent that can implement the required components of the drug and alcohol testing program for your the employer. US Drug Test Centers can provide the following services to help you to be in compliance with the FAA.

  • A written custom policy on controlled substances use and alcohol misuse in the workplace – your customized DOT Drug & Alcohol Testing Policy
  • Educational materials to be distributed to all covered employees
  • Supervisor training materials and access to live or on line additional supervisor training
  • Employee assistance programs, rehabilitation, and treatment programs information.
  • Access to Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) for DOT violations
  • Collection site, urine collections, lab testing and MRO review and reporting
  • Breath alcohol testing (BAT)
  • Random testing instructions for required random testing, complete consortium management for your required random testing program
  • All required forms for compliance
  • Instructions for required record keeping

According to the FAA's drug and alcohol testing regulation (14 CFR part 120), an employer (i.e., a part 119 certificate holder with authority to operate under parts 121 and/or 135, an operator as defined in 14 CFR § 91.147, or an air traffic control facility not operated by the FAA or under contract to the U.S. Military) or a contractor who chooses to implement its own testing program must ensure that any employee performing the following safety-sensitive functions directly or by contract (including subcontract at any tier) is subject to drug and alcohol testing:

Safety Sensitive Positions

Safety Sensitive Positions
  • flight crewmember duties
  • flight attendant duties
  • flight instruction duties
  • aircraft dispatcher duties
  • aircraft maintenance and preventive maintenance duties
  • ground security coordinator duties
  • aviation screening duties
  • air traffic control duties
  • operations control specialist duties

Testing Requirements

FAA Testing Requirements
  • pre-employment testing
  • reasonable suspicion/cause testing
  • random testing
  • return-to-duty testing
  • follow-up testing
  • post-accident testing

Alcohol testing is required for all above except for pre-employment testing, this is optional.

FAA Required Drug and Alcohol Testing Program

US Drug Test Centers can help you with the initial steps to develop and implement your FAA required drug and alcohol testing program.

  • First obtain the applicable Operations Specifications paragraph or drug and alcohol testing program registration as described in 14 CFR §§ 120.117 and 120.225.
  • Ensure that no one is hired for or transferred into a safety-sensitive function without first being pre-employment drug tested and receiving a negative test result. More information regarding pre-employment testing may be found in 14 CFR § 120.109(a). Pre-employment alcohol testing is not required, but may be implemented according to 14 CFR § 120.217(a).
  • Educate and train your employees on the effects and consequences of drug abuse and alcohol misuse. More information regarding training and materials may be found in 14 CFR §§ 120.115 and 120.223.
  • Ensure that employees are placed into the random drug and alcohol testing pool and have an equal chance of being tested each time selections are made. More information regarding random testing may be found in 14 CFR §§ 120.109(b) and 120.217(c).

There are many more requirements of the drug and alcohol testing regulations, US Drug Test Centers can help you with all of the requirements.

Remember that it is not just airlines that must implement the FAA required drug and alcohol testing regulations. The Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA's) drug and alcohol testing regulations (14 CFR part 120) require any part 119 certificate holder that is authorized to operate under parts 121 and/or 135 to ensure that any person who performs safety-sensitive functions (e.g., maintenance or preventive maintenance), directly or by contract (including by subcontract at any tier), is subject to drug and alcohol testing. When hiring by contract, the air carrier must either:

  1. cover the contractor's safety-sensitive employees under its FAA drug and alcohol testing program; or
  2. ensure that the contractor has implemented its own FAA drug and alcohol testing program.

For expert consultation on FAA drug and alcohol testing programs and random testing consortiums, please contact US Drug Test Centers.