FAA levies fines on FedEx and ERA Helicopters

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The US FAA seeks to fine FedEx and ERA Helicopters a combined $884,049 for violating federal regulations.

FAA has assessed a $689,800 fine against FedEx for allegedly violating regulations guiding the transport of hazardous materials. The agency determined in 89 instances from 13 June to 4 September 2009 FedEx failed to supply pilots-in-command with complete and accurate information on the nature, quantity and weight of hazardous materials loaded on their aircraft.

FAA also stated FedEx accepted four shipments between 18 June and 26 August of 2009 of hazardous materials for air transport when those materials were not accurately described and certified in the accompanying shipper's documents.

The agency stated the violations were uncovered during a dangerous goods inspection from 31 August to 1 October 2009 at the company's cargo handling facility at Bradley International airport near Hartford, Connecticut.

For ERA, FAA aims to fine the company $194,249 for failing to conduct pre-employment drug tests and receive verified negative results in 2010 prior to hiring eight employees to perform safety-sensitive duties.

The agency also alleged ERA failed to conduct required random drug testing on at least 25% of staff performing safety sensitive tasks in 2009.

Additionally, FAA determined ERA on 15 March 2010 returned an individual to safety sensitive duties that previously tested positive for drug use without documentation that the individual had completed return-to-duty requirements before assigning him to flight duties.

FAA concluded ERA failed in 2009 to implement a reasonable programme of follow-up drug and alcohol testing for a different employee in accordance with a scheduled provided by an ERA substance abuse professional. After he returned to duty, ERA did not complete required follow-up tests, said FAA.

ERA has since modified its hiring and drug testing programmes to bring them into compliance with regulations, said FAA.