FAA Proposes $194,249 Civil Penalty Against ERA Helicopters

FAA alleges ERA failed to conduct pre-employment drug tests and receive verified negative test results before to hiring eight employees to perform safety-sensitive duties.


FORT WORTH – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing a $194,249 civil penalty against ERA Helicopters Inc., of Lake Charles, La., for violations of the FAA’s drug and alcohol testing program regulations.

The FAA alleges ERA failed to conduct required pre-employment drug tests and receive verified negative test results in 2010 before hiring eight employees to perform safety-sensitive duties. The FAA also cited ERA for allegedly failing to conduct required random testing of at least 25 percent of its safety-sensitive employees during 2009.

In addition, the FAA alleges that on Mar. 15, 2010, ERA returned an individual to safety-sensitive duties who had tested positive for drug use earlier, but failed to obtain documentation that the individual had completed return-to-duty requirements before assigning him to flight crewmember duties.

The FAA also cited ERA for failing to implement a reasonable program of follow-up drug and alcohol testing for a different employee in 2009 in accordance with the schedule prescribed by an ERA substance abuse professional. The company removed the employee from safety-sensitive duties for refusing to take a random drug test. He later completed return-to-duty drug and alcohol testing, but the FAA said ERA did not complete required follow-up random testing after he returned to duty.

The company has since modified its hiring and drug testing programs to bring them into compliance with regulations.

ERA Helicopters has 30 days from the receipt of the FAA’s enforcement letter to respond to the agency.

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