Says Mandatory Drug/Alcohol Testing Will Drag Small Shops
The Federal Aviation Administration
"lacks a factual basis" to support the expansion of substance abuse
testing, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA).
Under the FAA's proposed rule, thousands of metal finishers,
machine shops, dry cleaners and other small businesses would have
to perform mandatory alcohol and drug testing of employees if they
perform maintenance, even as subcontractors, for a commercial air
carrier, no matter how far removed contractually from the air
carrier they may be.
The Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA) and 13 other
major aviation industry associations and companies oppose the
proposal. In Joint Industry Comments filed with the FAA on August
16, ARSA explained how the rule will raise costs -- driving many of
their members' subcontractors to decline aviation-related work.
"In many industries, a cost impact of one percent of revenues
would be significant considering that profit margins may be five
percent of revenues or less," according to the SBA Office of
Advocacy in its FAA comments.
ARSA member companies are subject to
stringent substance abuse testing requirements. As FAA-certificated
facilities, they are responsible for the airworthiness of the
aircraft and components they and their subcontractors service. The
aviation industry has consistently maintained that imposing
substance abuse testing on non-certificated subcontractors is
costly, intrusive and unnecessary for safety.
"The requirement that lower tier contractors who perform safety
sensitive repairs to components have alcohol and drug testing
programs reaches well beyond repair stations and their contractors
to include suppliers, parts refurbishers and parts brokers within
the scope of the rule," the SBA said.
The FAA's proposal lacks objective data on the actual number of
small entities affected by the rule, according to the SBA comments.
The agency urged the FAA to perform a thorough regulatory
flexibility analysis, solicit data from the public, and consider
alternatives to minimize the impact on small entities, before
proceeding with a final rule.
ARSA and its industry partners say they will continue to promote
alternatives to this costly and ill-researched proposal.