Airline Safety: Same Plane, Different Standards?

Kevin Bachman

Maintained in the USA? Aviation’s scary little secret

June 1, 2009

I suspect that most people are surprised to learn that not all maintenance performed on U.S. airliners is done by mechanics subject to drug and alcohol testing and 10-year background checks. How can that be? If mechanic is considered to be a safety-sensitive position, how can maintenance performed on U.S. airliners not be done by employees subject to drug and alcohol testing and background checks?
Where’s the loophole big enough to taxi an A380 through?

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The words above are not mine but I don’t disagree. Basically, the author states employee regulations which must be followed by domestic air carriers if an airplane is maintained inside the United States don’t always have to be followed if that airplane were maintained outside the United States. I too think many would be shocked if this were widely known. Conceivably, maintenance could be off shored and carriers could lower their costs accordingly. And this isn’t a good time to discuss cutting back on safety…

I will say this. Employment screening is a regulated industry. We do a lot of work for clients that work in regulated industries themselves, including aviation. So we are a company in a regulated industry serving clients in other regulated industries.

Aviation is a HEAVILY regulated industry. Creating and conducting a screening program for these clients is a completely different animal. And these clients, for the services they ask us to provide, are very diligent in their efforts. Dedicated to their profession and committed to safety.

But it is interesting to hear what regulations apply inside and which apparently do not transfer outside the United States. It’s an issue worth exploring, considering we find criminal records on approximately 20% of all applicants. It’s certainly a hole worth closing.

Kevin Bachman
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Kevin Bachman

Senior Vice President of Operations at EmployeeScreenIQ
Kevin is responsible for creating strategy and setting long term goals to manage and optimize organizational workflow. Kevin ensures the company exceeds performance benchmarks by designing and implementing a robust set of analytics and metrics. As a member of the executive committee, he helps shape corporate strategy and sets the direction of key client initiatives. With 13 years industry experience, Kevin is a member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), previously serving on the best practices committee and co-chairing the Litigation Avoidance sub-committee.
Kevin Bachman
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