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FAA Confirms Receiving Tasks Not Maintenance, No D&A Testing Requirement

On May 30, the FAA issued a legal interpretation clarifying that repair station employees receiving items for stock are not performing safety sensitive functions under 14 CFR part 120 and need not be included in a drug and alcohol testing pool.

The interpretation was provided in response to a Feb. 15 request from 16 different aviation industry organizations, led by ARSA and representing both trade associations and private companies. The group had asked FAA Assistant Chief Counsel Lorelei Peter to confirm that tasks associated solely with receiving functions did not meet the regulatory definition of maintenance and therefore were not safety sensitive. The group’s submission had been stimulated by learning some auditors in the agency’s Drug Abatement Division had indicated the contrary to certificate holders.

The interpretation concurred with the request’s reasoning. After citing the pertinent regulations for defining maintenance and preventive maintenance as well as outlining recordkeeping requirements under part 43, Peter’s response described the general responsibilities of individuals performing receiving tasks. 

“These [receiving] tasks are not maintenance or preventative maintenance activities,” the response stated. “Therefore, employees receiving items for stock are not safety sensitive employees under part 120 and should not be included in the pool of employees subject to drug and alcohol testing.”

If you have employees in your random pool who perform only receiving functions, they should be removed immediately. No other actions (e.g., voluntary disclosures) should be necessary in light of the contrary positions previously taken by some FAA auditors.

To read the complete interpretation, click here.

To read the coalition’s request, click here

Previous Updates on this Legal Interpretation...

2/21/17 - Aviation Groups Seek Clarification on D&A Testing for Receiving Functions

February 21, 2017

On Feb. 15, a group of aviation industry members submitted a request to the FAA to clarify drug and alcohol testing requirements to individuals performing receiving functions on articles prior to their being put in stock.

Sixteen signatories, led by ARSA and representing both trade associations and private companies, asked for a legal interpretation from FAA Assistant Chief Counsel Lorelei Peter. The group requested Peter to confirm that personnel conducting tasks associated solely with receiving items for stock are not performing a safety-sensitive function under the applicable definitions in 14 CFR part 120. As such, those individuals need not be included in any government-mandated drug and alcohol testing pool.

“A receiving process simply verifies that incoming parts or materials are what they purport to be and that there are no obvious reasons to question a previous determination of airworthiness,” the letter said. “These receiving activities do not require the creation of a maintenance record because no tasks to which [14 CFR] part 43 applies are being performed; therefore, they are not safety-sensitive functions under [the drug and alcohol testing requirements of 14 CFR] part 120.”

In addition to citing the relevant regulatory definitions, the request highlighted historical standards and current agency guidance describing both the distribution and receipt of parts as not included in maintenance or preventive maintenance.

The coalition of aviation groups submitted the request after learning some auditors in the FAA’s Drug Abatement Division had indicated to certificate holders that receiving tasks were in fact safety-sensitive functions. Though such assertions were only made informally, the potential improper expansion of testing requirements would impose unnecessary costs on certificate holders without increasing safety. Additionally, it would reduce the effectiveness of current testing programs by including those who do not perform maintenance and preventive maintenance.

To read the entire request, click here.

To see all of ARSA’s work related to D&A testing requirements, click here.

To access the association’s training series on D&A testing requirements, visit arsa.org/da-training.



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