The Importance of Accurate Training Logs

FAA has proposed a 1.29 million dollar civil penalty against against the City of Chicago Department of Aviation.  The Department is accused of falsifying airport firefighter training logs.

There is an important lesson to be learned from this civil penalty.  While the ASA community may not include firefighters, we do have mandatory training, including hazmat training for hazmat employees.  Falsifying the training logs can yield a very expensive civil penalty, and a lot of bad publicity.

We offer low-cost hazmat certification training (open to anyone).  Also, ASA members can also access free hazmat recognition training for non-shipping staff (a video from the ASA webinar series).  For a link to the hazmat recognition video, ASA members can send an email to ASA and they will forward a link to the session recording and a copy of the presentation.

ASA, MARPA and AFRA have also been offering free webinars for members. They have been providing training on variety of useful subjects every Tuesday and Thursday in order to keep skills sharp for the industry.

The FAA’s Press release describes the civil penalty allegation against the City of Chicago Department of Aviation:

The FAA alleges that between April and August 2019, three firefighters at Chicago O’Hare International Airport were assigned to a High Reach Extendable Turret vehicle for a total of 18 shifts when they had not completed required training on operating the turret. One of the firefighters, a lieutenant, falsified 13 training-log entries to make it appear he had completed the training, the FAA alleges.

Additionally, a captain at Chicago Midway International Airport was assigned to a vehicle for two shifts when she had not completed required recurrent training, the FAA alleges. That firefighter also accessed the airfield during nine shifts when she was not properly badged or under proper escort.

The FAA also alleges the City of Chicago Department of Aviation failed to ensure that the Fire Department maintained required training records.

Note: this FAA press release was issued before the formal response from the City of Chicago Department of Aviation, so they may have defenses to the allegations that are not reflected in the FAA’s notice document.  The Chicago Tribune reported that the City of Chicago Department of Aviation released a statement on this issue:

“Upon learning of these serious allegations, CDA immediately began working with the FAA and CFD to initiate a series of actions, including leadership changes and the retraining of ARFF personnel to ensure all firefighters have the proper training and certifications to operate at the airports,” the department said. “Additionally, CFD training methods and recordkeeping practices have been overhauled to ensure those qualifications are tracked properly. This was all completed in 2019.”

[this statement was not on the City of Chicago Department of Aviation press release listing as of this morning]

About Jason Dickstein
Mr. Dickstein is the President of the Washington Aviation Group, a Washington, DC-based aviation law firm. Since 1992, he has represented aviation trade associations and businesses that include aircraft and aircraft parts manufacturers, distributors, and repair stations, as well as both commercial and private operators. Blog content published by Mr. Dickstein is not legal advice; and may not reflect all possible fact patterns. Readers should exercise care when applying information from blog articles to their own fact patterns.

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