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Monday, June 20, 2011

United Airline Drug Testing Failure

One work environment where one would hope that the management stayed on top of drug and alcohol testing is the airline industry. Everyday millions of people put their lives in the hands of others when they decide to board a plane, the chances of there being a problem, today, are pretty slim; however, if the pilot is intoxicated it changes things a bit. It is always a good rule of thumb to not drink and drug when operating heavy equipment and airplanes definitely qualify. We are not just talking about pilots here, anyone who works on the airplane needs to be clear minded and have sober eyes in order to make sure that the plane will function the way it is supposed to some 30,000 feet above the ground.

In an announcement made today by the Federal Aviation Administration, they are proposing a $584,375 civil penalty against United Airlines for allegedly violating regulations for drug and alcohol testing of "safety-sensitive" employees, reports MSNBC. "Safety-sensitive" workers are usually people "who have access to planes or work on them," said Paul Turk, a FAA spokesperson. Turk would not discuss which airports the employees under question work at or what exactly their function was.

This could include:
  • pilots
  • flight attendants
  • ground crew
  • dispatchers

In 2006, the FAA issued a warning to United and did so again in 2008, claiming that United's testing practices failed to ensure that every flight crew member had the same chance of being selected for testing. Inspections in 2009 revealed that United failed to test 13 individuals who had been transferred to safety-sensitive positions, which triggered an investigation of United's practices according to MSNBC. Hopefully, a serious fine on United will encourage all airlines to stay on top of the ball with drug testing so that flying on a plane can be as safe as possible.


  1. Its frightening to think about how many times I've flown in the past year and how many times the people in charge of my safety and my life had been drinking, or drunk, when flying the plane. Monitoring professionals in safety related industries will promote accountability and public safety.

  2. When I lived in Bangkok where the biggest airport hub of Southeast Asia is located, I've came across a lot of junkies working in the airline industry while on transit there and then boarding their flights the following day! No wonder they always look forward to a Bangkok layover. I hope American airlines take this seriously to avoid any possible aviation accident lawyer cases piling up with the ICC.


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