Study Shows FAA Ineffective in Compliance on Hazardous Materials

ban on lithium batteriesWASHINGTON, DC – A report released by the U.S. Transportation Department Office of Inspector General (OIG) has found that the FAA lacks the training and guidance necessary to enforce Bush-era regulations that allow carriers to disclose hazardous material violations voluntarily, without incurring civil penalties.

The OIG report surfaced a week after aircraft maker Boeing Co said that high-density packages of lithium batteries, like those used in cell phones and laptops, should not be carried on passenger planes because they pose fire risks.

In 65 percent of hazardous material cases, OIG investigators found that the FAA did not obtain sufficient evidence to ensure that carriers fixed reported problems. The agency also has not sought to identify safety risks or trends involving hazardous materials and lacks the clarity to determine how carriers should meet the requirements.

“FAA does not have an adequate framework to carry out the (regulations) effectively,” the 20-page report concluded.

The inspector general’s office said FAA officials agreed with nearly all of its recommendations. In a two-page FAA memo included with the report, the agency also said it has recently implemented strong internal controls to oversee compliance.