FAA Crew Rest Regulations: To Rest or Not to Rest

Guest post by retired military and commercial pilot Byron Edgington.

Federal Air Regulations (FAR) concerning ‘crew rest’ have been tweaked and reconfigured since the 1940s. They may be the most byzantine rules ever devised. Just trying to make sense of them is exhausting. In 2010, FAA outlined its goal: It’s not to limit flight time, but to “…address flight time limitations and required rest periods.”

Here’s an example of the convoluted nature of those rules: this (commercial) flying must “…provide for at least 10 consecutive hours of rest during the 24-hour period that precedes the planned completion time of the assignment.” In addition, pilots must be given “…at least 13 rest periods of at least 24 consecutive hours each in each calendar quarter.”

The aviation business operates on razor-thin profits margins. Thus the foofaraw over crew rest regulations is, at heart, a money issue. Aviation employers are no different than any other; they hire only enough pilots to get by.

My experience in Air Medical aviation, flying a helicopter at a hospital, was instructive. In 1983, when I started, I was one of two pilots at the contract. The client hospital required that a pilot be in house 24/7. Sharing the duty with another pilot, and a week having 168 hours, meant he and I worked 84 hour weeks. The company had no interest in hiring more pilots since the contract stipulated a set amount for salaries.

Like at a lot of other hospital contracts at that time, with all pilots working half their lives, crew rest became a point of contention between the employers, clients and FAA. Definitions got in the way. The boss said if we weren’t flying, we were ‘at rest,’ even inside the hospital. The federal government said if we were inside the hospital we were on duty. This tennis match went on for years. At times, it seemed crew rest in the Air Med business was unregulated. In a turnaround, partly because of a spate of accidents in Air Med aviation, that industry is now one of the most highly regulated as to crew rest, working under FAR part 135.261 through 135.273, and typically, four pilots are on staff.

One reason for all the FAA tweaking etc. is the varied nature of ‘commercial flying.’ Single-pilot crew, or two-pilot? Scheduled operation, or on-call? What is ‘duty time’? What is ‘rest’? Adjustments to the regs have been proposed to clarify things, such as one by National Air Transportation Association (NATA) emphasizing the use of so called ‘science based fatigue principles’. A proposal by the National EMS Pilots Association (NEMSPA) is for crew members to call ‘time out’ if they’re fatigued, and to do so with impunity.

Here’s the gist of it: a pilot may log more than 500 hours per quarter, no more than 800 in two consecutive quarters. Late landings require extended ‘rest’ periods. Per-week, per quarter and annual flight time is limited. But the regulation states flight time as a simple function of rest time, which is the intent.

Like any FAA regulation, the first line says it all. “No employer may assign a pilot to duty beyond crew rest requirements…” But to continue, quoting the pilot part, “…no flight crew member may accept an assignment…” In other words, if you tell the boss you won’t take an assigned trip, you may be legal, but you may be unemployed, too.

Your call, captain.

Byron Edgington ATP is a retired pilot with 12,500 logged hours in twenty different types of commercial & military helicopters. Edgington is the author of The Sky Behind Me, a Memoir of Flying and Life, available at Amazon and Biblio Publishing. He lives in Columbus Ohio, and is a well rested writer.

Bullying Employer K.O.’d in Ontario Workplace Violence and Failure-to-Post Case

Aldo Sarra, supervisor for Pro-Cut Concrete Cutting Ltd., physically assaulted John Owens, one of Sarra’s employees. Less than two weeks later, Sarra threatened to kill another employee, Jean-Guy Herron.

Both Owens and Herron were members in good standing of the Labourers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA). The union promptly filed a workplace violence grievance with the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) who found that Sarra’s actions violated Bill 168 (also known as the Bully-Busting Bill). Bill 168 introduced workplace violence provisions into Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).

Additionally, an OLRB investigation concluded that Pro-Cut Concrete Cutting did not post the workplace violence and harassment policies or programs, as required by Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act. Pro-Cut Concrete Cutting did not participate in the hearing.


Pro-Cut Concrete Cutting was ordered to:

  • Comply with the Province’s OHSA.
  • Provide full compensation to Herron and Owens for hours worked and vacation time.

The OLRB scheduled a separate hearing to consider assessing damages for mental distress to the employees who were victims of workplace violence.

Ontario OHSA Posting Requirements

Employers with locations in Ontario are required to:

  • Post a copy of the OHSA and explanatory material, both in English and the majority language of the workplace, outlining the rights, responsibilities and duties of workers.
  • Prepare and review at least annually a written occupational health and safety policy and develop and maintain a program to implement that policy.
  • Post a copy of the occupational health and safety policy.
  • Provide to an employer-designate health and safety committee or to a health and safety representative the results of a health and safety data (injuries, illnesses, etc.).
  • Advise workers of the results of the health and safety report (if the report is in writing, employers must make it available to employees in written form).

About the OLRB

The Ontario Labour Relations Board is an independent, quasi-judicial tribunal mandated to mediate and adjudicate a variety of employment and labor relations-related matters under a number of Ontario statutes. They provide guidance on cases involving:

  • Establishing or terminating bargaining rights in a workplace
  • Trade unions’ duty of fair representation or referral of its members
  • Unfair labor practices by any workplace party
  • Illegal strikes or lockouts
  • Grievances to arbitration in the construction industry
  • Accreditation in the construction industry
  • Unlawful reprisals

Need Help Navigating Canadian Labor Law Posting Requirements?

If you have multiple employment locations in the U.S. and Canada and would like to simplify your labor law poster compliance program, visit GovDocs’ Canadian Posting Compliance page to learn more about how we can help.

Compliance Anxiety Pays Off for Ontario Employee

keep calm_canadaSharon Fair oversaw asbestos removal for Hamilton-Wentworth District schools in Ontario. Many of the District’s 114 schools were built in the twentieth century when asbestos, an inflammable fibrous mineral, was a popular choice for fireproofing materials.

Fair took her position seriously, feeling intensely the responsibility of her position and its liability under Canada’s Occupational Health and Safety Act. If the District’s abatement program was found to be in violation of the Act, Fair could have been held personally liable for a fine of $25,000 and a year in prison.

She developed a debilitating generalized anxiety disorder that prevented her from performing her duties as Supervisor of the District’s abatement program, but the District failed to accommodate her in another position before it terminated her. After more than eight years of part-time and casual labor, Fair’s case was decided in Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, 2013 HRTO 440. The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal ordered the District to:

  • Reinstate Fair to an appropriate position that accommodated her condition.
  • Provide adequate retraining.
  • Compensate her for more than eight years of lost wages.

If you need to remove anxiety about your labor law posting compliance program, contact us today for a free price quote! We offer automated programs that keep you compliant in Canada and the U.S.

What About The Asbestos?

As of 2012, the District’s abatement program remained unfinished with a Trustee lamenting the level of asbestos remaining in Ancaster High School still has asbestos problems. Until 2012, Canada was a major exporter of asbestos, running afoul of the United Nation’s Rotterdam Convention and its inclusion of asbestos as a hazardous material.

Download Health Canada’s free It’s Your Health guide to asbestos.

What is Generalized Anxiety Order?

For Sharon Fair, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) was a reaction to the highly stressful nature of her job, and her fear that, in making a mistake about asbestos removal, she could be held personally liable for a breach of Canada’s Occupational Health and Safety Act.

More than a million Canadian adults and 6.8 million American adults suffer from GAD. Symptoms include:

  • Constant, overwhelming worry
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia and fatigue
  • Headaches, muscle aches, stomach aches, or unexplained pains
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Uncontrollable twitching
  • Flop sweat

GAD sets the stage for the onset of other disease. The stress hormone cortisol cause increased blood sugar levels and triglycerides, which can cause coronary artery disease, short-term memory loss, digestive problems, and suppression of the natural immune system.

Want to check your level of anxiety? Take a stress test!


Workplace Shootings Fire Up Controversy Over Gun Control Laws

On January 30, 2012, two victims lost their lives because of a workplace shooting. Five lives were lost on September 27, 2012 as a result of a Minneapolis workplace shooting. Three lives were lost on November 6, 2012 in a California workplace shooting. After these deathly shootings in the workplace on top of other tragic events that have occurred in the last year, gun control laws and workplace violence are hot topics that are being reevaluated.

Key Points:

  • All U.S. employers are required by federal law to “maintain safe work environment”
  • State legislature determine gun policy regulation. Since 2003, nearly 20 states have adopted laws restrict employers from controlling fun policies. Hyperlink.
  • According to studies by ASIS International Foundation and the U.S. Justice Department, workplace homicides average about 500 a year in the U.S. and 80% of these homicides involving shootings.
  • Job sites that allow guns are five to seven times more probable to suffer homicides than locations that ban all guns

Employers’ Arguments to Control Workplace Gun Policies

Companies have the right to control its own private property and by law, employers are required to provide a safe work environment for all employees, thus they are fighting to gain control of creating gun policies in the workplace. They wish to prohibit the allowance of guns in locked vehicles in parking lots in order to mitigate future workplace violence and keep employees safe.

Employees’ and NRA’s Arguments to Keep Firearm in Locked Vehicle

The strongest argument for citizen’s rights is that parking lot gun policies violate a citizen’s second amendment right to bear arms. Furthermore, the National Rifle Association argues that employees should have the right to “protect themselves on their drive home” from the workplace.

What’s ahead?

The number of states prohibiting employers from creating firearms policies in parking lots is increasing. As these laws become enacted, concerns about workplace violence will heighten and employers will need to develop and implement workplace safety policies and guidelines to mitigate this violence.

What can employers do?

If state has adopted workplace gun laws (prohibited employers to disallow employees to keep firearms in locked vehicles in parking lots) employers should create gun-free-work-zones. Additionally, the company’s legal counsel should become familiarized with state laws and create legal gun policies that do not violate the rights of their employees. Beyond this, employers should clearly communicate these policies and safety guidelines to all employees. Finally, human resources should provide supervisors with training on how to handle concealed weapons and workplace violence and emphasize warning signs of potential violence.

If the state has not adopted workplace gun laws, the employer should develop policies that restrict guns in parking lots.

Alabama Employers: Know Your Gun Policy Limits

English: Single Action Army at full cock

Alabama’s new guns at work law allows employees to store and transport firearms in private vehicles on company property. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley recently signed a gun bill into law that allows employees to have firearms in their cars at work. The law also protects businesses from being sued for any harm resulting from the use of those weapons on company property. The law takes effect August 1, 2013 and will affect employers with locations in Alabama.

The law allows employers to prohibit its employees from carrying firearms while on company property or while representing a company’s interests in the course of business. The law, however, does not allow employers to restrict transportation or in-vehicle storage of lawfully possessed firearms and ammunition in privately owned vehicles. Any person with a valid concealed-carry permit can transport and store loaded weapons in their vehicles – on or off company parking lots and transportation routes.

Even without a permit, a driver in Alabama is allowed to carry an unloaded weapon, as long as it is not readily accessible. Alabama also recognizes concealed-weapons permits with other states.

Alabama is among nineteen states that have enacted “guns-at-work” or “parking lot” laws that limit employers’ right to restrict firearms on company property.

Free Workplace Bullying Policy and U.S. Employment Law

Physical bullying at school, as depicted in th...

Physical bullying at school, as depicted in the film Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The classic schoolyard scenario: a shy, smaller child contends with a big mean bully during a school lunch break in front of the swing set – or bullying’s updated online counterpart: cyberbullying.

Many of us have memories of bullies from our school years, and bullying often is perceived as a problem that only children face from one another. However, 37% of adult American employees have experienced bullying at work.

Bullying remains a significant challenge even after graduating from the playground to the break room.

Workplace Bullying Policies Up to Each Employer

While European nations (like Sweden way back in 1994), Australia, and Canada have codified federal prohibitions against workplace bullying, the U.S. still has no federal legislation defining and prohibiting workplace bullying.

Legal efforts to curb bullying in the U.S. focus on the playgrounds and classrooms. Forty-nine states in the U.S. now have passed school anti-bullying legislation (every state except Montana). Sioux City Community School District in Iowa led the nation in 2009 by expanding its anti-bullying policies from only protecting students to protecting District employees from bullying in the workplace.

This leaves to individual employers to take initiative to institute workplace bullying policies that integrate with a company’s anti-harassment policies until legislation like the Healthy Workplace Bill passes.

Meanwhile, for employers who would like to implement an anti-bullying policy, the Society of Human Resources (SHRM) offers a free bullying prevention policy template here.

What is Workplace Bullying?

Dr. Gary Namie, Director of the Workplace Bullying Institute calls workplace bullying a “systematic, laser-focused campaign of interpersonal destruction” with the intent of undermining the careers of coworkers whom the workplace bully perceives as a threat.

Dr. Namie stated that conflict resolution is ineffective in dealing with workplace bullies.

“It’s not conflict,” Namie said. He claimed the bully’s world view affects behavior, and, therefore, bullies will not change from a conflict resolution process. “Solutions have to involve making a person healthy.”

Workplace bullying includes the repeated practice by one or more coworkers of behaviors such as:

  • Verbal abuse.
  • Offensive conduct/behaviors (including nonverbal) which are threatening, humiliating or intimidating
  • Work interference – sabotage – which prevents work from getting done.


Free California Human Trafficking Poster: Local Solution to Global Problem

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California law requires some businesses to post its Human Trafficking poster, which provides a hotline number for victims or employees who suspect human trafficking is taking place in their business.

Businesses required to post the Human Trafficking poster include:

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  • Restaurants with licenses to serve alcohol
  • Urgent care and emergency room facilities
  • Privately operated job recruitment centers
  • Commercial airports, rail stations, bus stations and truck stops
  • Adult or sexually oriented businesses
  • Massage parlors and bodywork spas
  • Farm labor contractors

Download free versions from the State of California here:

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What is Human Trafficking?

The United Nations defines human trafficking as:

“…the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”

Human trafficking forces people into lives of sexual servitude and forced labor. It is a global problem, with more than 12 million victims of human trafficking around the world at this moment. Human trafficking was identified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as the fastest growing and second largest criminal industry in the world.

In the past three years, enforcement agencies working in California have identified more than 1,000 victims of human trafficking and arrested nearly 2,000 individuals responsible for forcing victims to live and work like slaves. Globally, law enforcement agencies identify an average of 35,000 victims of human trafficking each year.

Despite public perception to the contrary, the victims of human trafficking aren’t always “shipped in” from other countries. 72% of human trafficking victims in California are American citizens; however, of the victims traffi­cked from other countries, the U.S. Department of State estimates that approximately 80 percent are women and girls. Half are under the age of 18.