OSHA Orders Pilot To Be Reinstated After Being Illegally Fired For Refusing To Fly Unsafe Medical Helicopter

LUCASVILLE, OHIO – Faced one night with a trip over mountainous terrain in a medical transport helicopter with a faulty emergency locator transmitter (ELT), a pilot refused to fly the aircraft and was later terminated for not flying. An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration followed. As a result, Air Methods Corp. was ordered to reinstate the pilot, pay $158,000 in back wages and $8,500 in damages, and remove disciplinary information from the employee’s personnel record. In addition, the company must provide whistleblower rights information to all employees.

OSHA found that Air Methods Corp., the largest U.S. provider of air medical transportation services, violated the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (AIR21) when it fired the pilot who was assigned to the company’s Lucasville, Ohio station. AIR21 protects employees who report air safety information. Federal Aviation Administration regulations require pilots in command of a civil aircraft to determine if an aircraft is in a condition for safe flight.

Any of the parties in this case can file an appeal with the department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges.

For more information on OSHA rules and regulations, visit http://www.osha.gov/.

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