South Dakota helicopter ambulance service ordered to reinstate mechanic who reported safety concerns

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 4:29 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - OSHA has ordered Avera Careflight in Sioux Falls to reinstate an Aberdeen mechanic who reported safety concerns and filed a complaint with the FAA.

According to a federal whistleblower investigation, the helicopter ambulance service allegedly retaliated against the mechanic, whose employment with the company was terminated.

OSHA determined that the company had violated the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century and ordered them to reinstate the mechanic. OSHA also directed Avera Careflight to pay the employee more than $55,600 in back wages and damages.

“Employees must be able to freely exercise their legal rights regarding workplace safety without fear of retaliation by their employer,” explained OSHA Regional Administrator Jennifer S. Rous in Denver. “The outcome of this investigation and the action on the mechanic’s behalf underscores the department’s commitment to protecting workers’ rights.”

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the company and the former employee can file objections or request a hearing within 30 days of receiving the agency’s order.