Direct contractors must determine the airworthiness of an article they work on and also ensure their subcontractors have actually implemented drug and alcohol testing programs because both have safety implications. Regulated employers and contractors at any tier should not disregard the requirement of safety responsibility. It is not necessary for companies to perform audits simply because the FAA regulations do not require audits to assure testing requirements are met. But some oversight is necessary.
Commentators on the subject wanted the FAA to provide guidance to distinguish safety-sensitive maintenance from other types of maintenance that does not have the potential to directly impact airworthiness. The FAA stated that in the drug and alcohol testing regulations, any maintenance or preventive maintenance a person performs for a regulated employer is a safety-sensitive function, and therefore is subject to testing. The FAA was reluctant to further define maintenance and preventive maintenance because it would likely be outdated quickly and not help the situation. The FAA says what is preventive maintenance and maintenance is the responsibility of the regulated employer. In theory any other kind of work is not subject to testing. So the bottom line is simply that your employer in the air carrier business defines who is to be tested and who need not be . . . but the company is still responsible . . . go figure. Send any comments to email@example.com.