Question

Who falls under FAA jurisdiction for drug and alcohol programs?

Answer
By John Hawes | Last updated: March 31, 2019

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is an organization within the US Department of Transportation (DOT). The FAA regulates all aspects of civil aviation in the US and in its surrounding international waters. Some of the roles of the FAA include the development of aviation technology, research and development within the aviation industry, air traffic control, and the regulation of flight inspection standards.

Because the FAA is part of DOT, they must comply with DOT's drug and alcohol testing program. The Drug Abatement Division of the FAA oversees the compliance of the aviation industry with DOT's drug and alcohol testing program. The ultimate goal of this compliance is to maintain safety in the skies.

The FAA will carry out regular inspections to make sure that all individuals within the aviation industry adhere to the requirements of DOT's drug and alcohol testing program.

The Drug and Alcohol Compliance and Enforcement Inspector Handbook was created for Drug Abatement Division personnel to follow when investigating compliance of the aviation industry with DOT's drug and alcohol testing program.

The handbook highlights that all employers, contractors and individuals within the aviation industry fall under FAA jurisdiction. Further details of who is involved are as follows:

  • Employers include a person or entity employing one or more employees or self-employed personnel. Employers' officers, representatives and management personnel are included under the "employer" banner
  • Contractors are individuals or companies who perform a safety sensitive function by contract for an employer or another contractor within the aviation industry
  • Service agents within the aviation industry are those who provide services to employees and/or employers in conjunction with DOT's drug and alcohol testing requirements. Service agents also fall under FAA jurisdiction. They may include Third Party Administrators (TPAs) who provide services including drug specimen collection, alcohol testing, laboratory testing, Medical Review Officer (MRO) functions and Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) functions.

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Written by John Hawes

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John Hawes is the CCO and co-founder at SureHire Occupational Health Testing. John graduated in 2001 from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Science degree in physical therapy. As a former physical therapist, John uses his knowledge of physical therapy and interest in ergonomics and biomechanics to devise fit for work testing.

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