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EASA propose drug & alcohol testing of flight and cabin crew

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EASA propose drug & alcohol testing of flight and cabin crew

Old 9th Dec 2016, 10:38
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EASA propose drug & alcohol testing of flight and cabin crew

https://www.easa.europa.eu/document-...opinion-142016

EASA today published a proposal to the European Commission on new operational rules to better support pilot mental fitness. EASA’s proposal is part of its action plan following the Germanwings accident.

Notably, this includes:

Introducing systematic drug & alcohol testing of flight and cabin crew upon employment.

Mandatory random alcohol screening of flight and cabin crew within the EU RAMP inspection programme.

Last edited by Whiskey Zulu; 9th Dec 2016 at 11:42.
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Old 9th Dec 2016, 10:48
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A couple of years ago I would have thrown up my arms in horror, but, having spent the last while in what is (I believe ) the only company (certainly in Europe ) where alco-tests are routinely performed before each duty (due to an "event that generated much negative publicity ) I have to say that it has just become a normal part of the pre-flight procedure.


Finally "if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear " . . . I believe in some countries it is routine procedure for train drivers/bus drivers, so, why not us ?

One positive effect is that it has encouraged me to routinely count my units of alcohol, and calculate the "hold-over time " as , I enjoy a glass or two, but not so much that I wish to lose my employment.

This is a very useful page to bookmark . . . . . .


http://www.cleavebooks.co.uk/scol/ccalcoh2.htm
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Old 9th Dec 2016, 10:56
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Firmly believe in the stick and carrot approach in this.

Stick: Drug and Alcohol testing of safety critical crew at random.

Carrot: before the stick is introduced have an established D and A treatment programme (Your airline in partnership with their private health care provider and if they don't have one make them get one) that someone with a problem can self refer without your airline getting involved or if you "fess up" to the airline also get referred and get to keep their job once treatment is complete.

Forcing people into the underground with this one is not what EASA wants. If they're serious about treating mental health then they should be forced to develop treatment programmes for all mental health issues.
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Old 9th Dec 2016, 11:13
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Other proposals included:

Ensuring that all pilots have access to a support programme;
Mandating airlines to perform a psychological assessment of pilots before the start of employment;
Introducing systematic Drug & Alcohol (D&A) testing of flight and cabin crew upon employment, after a serious incident or accident, with due cause (i.e. following reasonable suspicion), as well as
Unannounced D&A testing after rehabilitation and return to work;

With the 0.2 limit of alcohol for aircrew being under half that of driving and the differing rates which individuals can metabolise alcohol from their system, surely the only way to be completely safe is total abstinence within 24 hours of flying.
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Old 9th Dec 2016, 11:23
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You may even find these tests include screening for medication which is prescribed routinely. A lot of people self medicate with for example anti-depressants, as these drugs are readily available if you know where to look.

I have a feeling this is where EASA is going with this, in addition to alchohol and recreational drugs of course. Don't forget, Lubitz was depressed!
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Old 9th Dec 2016, 11:40
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Much easier to detect a pilot for a blood alcohol level that is one quarter that for driving, (in the U.K.!) than to test them for fatigue, which is likely to have a dramatically greater effect on their performance! Wonder why the airlines don't want any 'random testing' of fatigue???? A much greater threat IMVHO, and one that EASA have just increased exponentially!!!

This is little more than window dressing from the authorities, (much like 'two on the flight deck') as a knee jerk reaction to the embarrassment of being caught out by Lubitz.

Cynical? Moi??
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Old 9th Dec 2016, 11:41
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Had an interesting chat with a physician the other day. She believes a unit of alchohol should be defined like this. "The volume of ethanol that your body can metabolise in one hour". This makes everyones "unit" unique and the reason why so many people who think they have calculated everything nicely, have DUI offences worlwide. Food for thought.
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Old 9th Dec 2016, 12:15
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Think that works maxed out- and assume your body doesn't metabolise any in the first hour after you start too. Should keep you reasonably safe.

Remember most wines are higher in alcohol than in days of yore so count on 2-3 units per glass
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Old 9th Dec 2016, 13:22
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Originally Posted by Whiskey Zulu View Post
https://www.easa.europa.eu/document-...opinion-142016

Notably, this includes:

Introducing systematic drug & alcohol testing of flight and cabin crew upon employment.

Mandatory random alcohol screening of flight and cabin crew within the EU RAMP inspection programme.
We've had this in the U.S. for over two decades now.

As I predicted here in Y2K:

I'm sure you will see alcohol testing the U.K. after the recent glare of publicity stirs up public sentiment. Other American innovations like random drug tests and locked cockpit doors will catch up with you as well.
http://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/4...html#post53136
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Old 9th Dec 2016, 13:38
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I completely agree with this and have been subjected to Alcohol testing during a turn around in Amsterdam previously.

If you have nothing to hide, what is the problem?

Regarding units, I have a company limit for alcohol consumption but I apply my own limit on top to make sure. It's my livelihood and I just can't justifying risking it for my sake or my families, not to mention the lives of my passengers.
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Old 9th Dec 2016, 13:49
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Why not Westminster as well?

It's only right that our MPs, law makers, judges across the street should likewise be tested!!!
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Old 9th Dec 2016, 14:17
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quite a few industries test at random these days

Pity you can't trust people to obey the rules but there it is................
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Old 9th Dec 2016, 16:46
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I am always amazed in the post 911 environment, with governments even in the western world democracies running roughshod over civil liberties and introducing rules for one reason and then applying them for another (eg RIPA) to hear intelligent people say 'if you have nothing to hide just trust those decent honest politicians'

As a scientist I would start with the question 'what is the problem?' Is there unrefutable evidence of pilots drinking and causing risk or harm? Of course there is the odd pilot who is caught out, but these isolated mavericks will not be prevented from flying by random testing unless such testing becomes the norm or like in that lovely country India before every flight

There is also the issue of employer:employee relationships. We have looked at random drug testing in hospitals but we know the rare abuser will circumvent the system and the damage to morale will far outweigh any benefit.

And where does it stop? Drug screening? Interviewing the family behind your back? Covert surveillance of suspected pilots? Mental illness is a massive subject and poorly managed in most countries. Greater support and treatment gets my vote any day. but the Germanwings accident had nothing to do with too many beers the night before so please dont use it as an excuse foralcohol testing
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Old 9th Dec 2016, 17:00
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@Radgirl: spot on !

When I started flying I became a teetotaler and have refrained from drugs all my life. (boring person, me...)

Never the less I am annoyed by the distrust - now imagine the society would do this with all the drivers out there - would that be accepted ? What happens if you are "caught" by broken equipment - what does that to your work relationship even when cleared afterwards ? Will such entries disappear or not ? Like the SAFA DB entries that you CAN`T challenge even when everyone agrees the inspector was wrong ?

The trigger was the murderer Lubitz and his dirty handiwork. Now this fellow was a known nut - does anyone think, a once marked "loony" pilot would ever get his ticket back after this one ? The logical consequence is going below the radar.
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Old 9th Dec 2016, 17:10
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Many aviation companies around the world already implement this testing. I had this for a couple of years. You arrive at work by the company minibus, clear security, then straight to the nurses office for the breathalyser. No big deal.
And yes, some people were caught out and sent home.
If you turn up to fly an aircraft with passengers, drunk, or even possibly affected by alcohol, you dont deserve to be in the air.
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Old 9th Dec 2016, 17:14
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Any testing before flight should not be punitive but an opportunity to help & educate.
Even if found over the limits on more than one occasion. Maybe that would mean testing before every flight.
The bottom line is to stop individuals operating whilst over the legal limit. (Drugs & alcohol) not being vindictive or giving someone some sort of kick by ruining someone's life who obviously has a problem.
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Old 9th Dec 2016, 18:37
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Moved to a forum that nobody visits. By whom? And why?

Last edited by Whiskey Zulu; 10th Dec 2016 at 05:40.
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Old 9th Dec 2016, 19:01
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" I am always amazed in the post 911 environment, with governments even in the western world democracies running roughshod over civil liberties and introducing rules for one reason and then applying them for another (eg RIPA) to hear intelligent people say 'if you have nothing to hide just trust those decent honest politicians' "

Radgirl,

Precisely. We tried fighting this in the US on Fourth Amendment grounds...and obviously failed.

Alleging any politicians are either decent or honest (yours can't possibly be any different) is a complete fantasy. The motive of these vote trollops is to convince a naive Larry Lunch Pail they are acting in his best interest; protecting him from evil...a blatant falsehood.

Back when our illustrious former Secretary of Transportation, Elizabeth Dole, was ramrodding drug testing here, I had the misfortune to witness her testimony before the Senate Transportation Subcommittee hearing on drug abuse in the "transportation" industry; "transportation" industry...trains, trucks, ship and airplanes. It was the embodiment of kangaroo court relative to the airline industry. The sneering arrogant contempt with which the national ALPA aeromedical chairman and ALPA lawyer were treated would make your blood boil. You could see the consternation on their faces as they were derided by the senators on the panel as they tried to explain the HIMS program. I didn't know him personally but the medical chairman lived in my neighborhood so called him to hear he was stunned at the treatment he received; he had been asked to testify on behalf of the airline industry and then treated like dirt.

[There must be a video of that hearing somewhere but I can't find it. It should be required viewing]

If you folks over there are going to have this put on you, you'd better have every imaginable protection for the employee built in: detailed education of flight crews, split sample collection, independent medical review officer, legal representation HIMS, etc.

You're dealing with snakes. Proceed accordingly.

Last edited by bafanguy; 9th Dec 2016 at 19:48.
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Old 10th Dec 2016, 03:42
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Big issue in germany right now. Random D&A tests have been put into law a few months back after severe lobbying of Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr, who is currently fighting a very dirty figh with his own pilots. Lufthansa personnel was actually drafting that part of the legislation.

However, the new law is flawed on several levels. It requires a union CLA or a regulation done with a works council, which can under german law only be established with another CLA by a union and is required for every airline that has a presence in germany, ryanair therefore would need union recognition. If neither a CLA nor a works council thingy exists testing is illegal. Therefore there is unequal treatment of pilotd dpending on union recognition or not, unionized airlines are basically punished for that.
Testing is done by the airline, doesn't have to be done by medically trained personnel although an MD has to be close by. Which kind of tests are used and which quota of the pilots has to be tested is not regulated, however blood tests are impossible as they are a crime in itself (sticking a needle into someone is assault under german law) and can only be done on request of the testee or when ordered by a judge. Breathalyzer tests are not admissible in court except from one very specific stationary apparatus that costs several hundred thousand € and has to br recalibrated every two weeks or so. Both the normal breathalyzer tests and every non invasive drug test have a very high rate of false positives, using a non alcoholic mouth wash before work could theoretically lead to losing your job. And there are no quick non invasive tests for psychopharmaka or other meds.

Another issue that most probably will have to be settled in front of the constitutional court is the case of the innocence presumption which is the cornerstone of our law system. The new law however turns that around and considers everyone to be guilty until proven otherwise. Even policeman cannot order a D&A test until they have a provable suspicion that someone is under the influence. Random testing is therefore illegal, except for pilots nowadays. Even during ramp tests the inspectors can only order a test if they have a suspicion they can defend in court that a pilot is under the influence.

Interesting times ahead on his one.

That said, i would much rather have a working peer support programme which can be approached by anyone without fear of repercussions and which gives a safe way back into the job, something some companies over here have, sadly not the one im working for as it costs money.

And no, i don't want to work with someone under the influence, luckily i never had to have that talk yet and suggest a sick call. But it might happen at some point. However, i have flown and flown with pilots so fatigued that they probably would have been better at their job with enough rest and one or two pints right before work...
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Old 10th Dec 2016, 19:58
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By stator vane:
Why not Westminster as well?
It's only right that our MPs, law makers, judges across the street should likewise be tested!!!


And since we are at it:

(ok, from the BBC in 2005, but still accurate)

Intoxication 'rife among doctors'

The British Medical Association has called for action over alcohol and drug abuse among medics after a BBC survey showed the problem was widespread.
BBC One's Real Story found over the last 10 years 750 hospital staff in England had been disciplined over alcohol and drug-related incidents.

The BMA estimates one in 15 medics have a problem with drugs or alcohol at some point in their life-time.

Ethics Committee chairman XXXXX YYYYY said the profession was in denial.
So the people want to check-check-double-check pilots (but not checking fatigue) but the people are still happy and THRUST the medical profession (in general) a couple of times per year..
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