When it comes to employee whistle-blowing, it’s difficult to know whether or not accusations of safety violations should be taken seriously. However, a recent federal investigation has found that the Federal Avian Administration’s whistle-blowing instances have proven to be true in most cases. In fact, almost thirty different whistle-blowing safety complaints have been verified – safety complaints that could save lives, reduce the number of airplane accident injuries, and prevent aircraft accidents in general.
The safety complaints cover a variety of airplane accident topics, ranging from air traffic control issues to improper procedures to inadequate manuals to airplane equipment maintenance concerns. Many believe the number of whistle-blowers – and the treatment they receive after they go public – means that the FAA has a lot of work to do as an agency, especially to keep aircraft passengers safe from airplane accident and airplane incidents.
Specifically, federal officials from the whistle-blower protection office cite cases in which whistle-blowers are ignored by the FDA, demoted, and even shamed. One whistle-blower, FAA inspector Christopher Monteleon, had his aviation inspection credentials revoked after he brought attention to Colgan Air safety issues. This February, a Cogan Air plane went down in Buffalo and killed everyone on board.
In many cases, the Office of Special Counsel found that not only were whistle-blowers often correct in their assessment, but that in many cases the FAA left it up to the airline that they were regulating to assess and fix the problems brought to light. Some believe that whistle-blowing safety claims may be muffled by the FAA’s culture and by lobbyists who affect decision-making.