OSHA Orders Pilot to be Reinstated after Being Illegally Fired

OSHA also ruled that Air Methods Corp. must pay more than $166k in back wages and damages

According to a news release from OSHA, Air Methods Corp. has been ordered to reinstate a pilot that refused to fly an unsafe aircraft and was then terminated. The pilot faced a trip over mountainous terrain in a medical transport helicopter with a faulty emergency locator transmitter.

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 regulation requires pilots in command of a civil aircraft to determine if an aircraft is in a condition for safe flight.

"Pilots should never have to choose between the safety of themselves and their passengers, and their job," said Nick Walters, OSHA's regional administrator in Chicago. "Whistleblower protections are critical to keeping workplaces safe. Disciplining an employee for following safety procedures is illegal and puts everyone at risk."

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