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DAMP frequently asked questions
The following information is frequently asked questions (FAQs) about drug and alcohol management plans (DAMP). You can click on each question to open up or close an answer.
- What are my DAMP responsibilities as a safety sensitive aviation activity (SSAA) employee?
See the What are my individual responsibilities under Part 99? page for information.
- How do I become one? Where do I find relevant training?
See the DAMP supervisor page for information.
- I am trying to use my original login and password to log into Aviation Worx and it's not working
You can't use your old Pulse eLearning login and password to log into AviationWorx. You need to use your AviationWorx login if you've registered previously, or you'll need to register as a new user. You can find out more on our AviationWorx page.
- How do I access my previous records from before the switch to AviationWorx?
We advised people to save their records before access to the old system was cut off, but we also sent organisations a copy of their records by email. If you didn't receive them and didn't save your own copies, you can email us and request a copy.
- Where can we find CASA approved tester?
We don't approve testing providers.
See our finding a suitable drug testing provider fact sheet for more information.
- I'm starting a new job soon, how do I find a drug and alcohol testing provider?
The organisation that's employing you should advise you of an accredited testing facility in your area. Its their responsibility to make sure all SSAA employees have been tested according to the relevant standards, as required under their DAMP.
- If our organisation is in a remote or rural location, and we can't find an accredited testing agency in the area, how can we test to the regulatory requirements?
There is also information in the DAMP guidance manual (1.26MB).
- Is there a difference between first joins and pre-employment testing?
Part 99 CASR requires that a person who performs SSAA must be tested for drugs and alcohol when first joining the organisation. An exemption has been made available to organisations who wish to use the pre-employment/pre hire tests as the first joins test.
See the DAMP exemption - use of pre-hiring drug and alcohol tests page for more information.
- Do I need to get the post-accident / serious incident test done if the staff member is taken to hospital?
Part 99 requires that a test performed post-accident / serious incident be performed if suitable test conditions exist. Suitable test conditions are defined in 99.010 and means the conditions that exist after an accident or serious incident if:
- testing can be conducted within:
- for drug testing - 32 hours after the accident or incident occurred
- for alcohol testing - 8 hours after the accident or incident occurred
- it is practicable to conduct a test.
In the situation where a person may be conveyed to hospital or require medical treatment, it may not be practicable to conduct the test. Testing should never take priority over urgent medical treatment.
If testing is not conducted, the organisation should document why and keep with testing records.
See the Implementing a DAMP - drug and alcohol testing program page for more information.
- testing can be conducted within:
- Is there a requirement to test an employee after extended leave such as maternity or long service leave?
No, the circumstances for testing are:
- when first joins: when a SSAA employee first joins the organisation if the SSAA employee is someone who is reasonably likely to perform SSAA at least 2 or more times in 90 days or when an employee is changing role to a regular SSAA,
- for reasonable grounds: When a DAMP supervisor reasonably suspects that a SSAA employee may be adversely affected by alcohol or drugs
- post-accident or serious incident involving a SSAA employee
- return to work after a suspension due to:
- a positive drug test by either the DAMP organisation or CASA or
- after a refusal or interference of the test.
See the Understanding drug and alcohol testing programs page for more information.
- Can I use both types of testing for different testing occurrences, i.e. urine for first joins testing and oral fluid for after accident incident testing?
The regulations are silent on this course of action. As long as the same method is used for the initial test and the confirmatory test, there is no issue with the use of different methods for different tests.
- What if I test positive to a CASA random test?
You must cease SSAA immediately. The case will be reviewed by the CASA Medical Review Officer (MRO) and if the result is verified as a positive, the following steps will be taken:
A comprehensive assessment would be conducted. The assessment may recommend an intervention program such as education, counselling and/or treatment. An MRO must be satisfied that the person is fit to return to work and a negative test result is received at the time.
See the Understanding drug and alcohol response programs fact sheet for more information.
- What if I refuse to take a drug or alcohol test? Or interfere with test?
It is considered to be a positive test result. You must immediately cease SSAA. Before returning to SSAA you will need to be taken through the organisation's or CASA's response program.
See our Understanding drug and alcohol response programs fact sheet for more information.
- If I am positive for an alcohol test and take another test three hours later and am below the limit, can I go back to my SSAA?
No, you're not permitted to have another test when you're below the BAC limit and go back to performing SSAA. If you test positive. the case will be reviewed by the MRO and the steps will be taken below:
- The donor will undergo a comprehensive assessment
- Follow any recommendations from the assessment, education, counselling, and treatment.
- Satisfy the MRO of their fitness to return to work
See the Understanding drug and alcohol response programs fact sheet for more information.
- Is a person able to return to work if he was carrying a script for medication for which he had tested positive?
Once a person has tested positive he/she is unable to return to safety sensitive aviation activities until he/she has returned any confirmatory test that is not positive. If the confirmatory test is positive, an MRO may declare the result negative due to legitimate and therapeutic use. The MRO can also assess a person's fitness for duty while taking such medication.
- What's the difference between DAMP and CASA testing?
Under an organisation's DAMP, SSAA employees including contractors and subcontractors can be tested in the following circumstances:
- when first joins
- for reasonable grounds
- post-accident or serious incident
- return to work
The regulations allow the DAMP organisation to utilise either oral fluid or urine technologies for drug testing and breath testing for alcohol, so long as it meets the relevant Australian Standard. Please see the Understanding drug and alcohol testing programs fact sheet for more information on oral fluid and urine testing.
We can conduct random drug and alcohol testing on SSAA employees. This random testing will be driven by reasonable risk assessment so as to maximise the effectiveness of any testing undertaken.
Our random testing will take place using:
- oral fluid testing for testable drugs; and/or
- breath analysis for alcohol.
All of our testing is done by approved testers we employ. We issue all testers with an identity card that they must display and show to any donor on request.
- What drugs can CASA test for?
We will test for the presence of alcohol, opiates, cannabis, amphetamine-type stimulants, and cocaine. In the regulations, these drugs are referred to by their specific chemical names:
- 6-Acetyl morphine
- Methyl amphetamine
- Δ 9-tetrahydrocannabinol
- Ecgonine methyl ester
See the Understanding drug and alcohol testing programs page for further information and a copy of the regulations.
- Can CASA officers be tested?
CASA officers/staff who are airside and not a passenger can be CASA tested.
- Does a DAMP organisation need to test CASA officers/staff before they enter the organisation?
No a DAMP organisation has no regulatory requirement to test a CASA officer as they are not an employee or contractor of the organisation.
- Can we do random testing ourselves?
Yes, this is encouraged.
However it will not be done under CASR Part 99, as there is no regulatory requirement for organisations to carry out random testing.
Therefore there is no requirement to test to the standards set out in CASR Part 99, but it is recommended to research the validity and standard of any testing equipment being used.
- Where can I find a list of medical review officers (MRO)?
See the Role of a medical review officer (MRO) and the Quick reference guide for a DAMP medical review officer (MRO) fact sheets for information.
- Am I eligible? What are the conditions? Why would I do this when I have a DAMP? Do I need to apply? What do I do if I increase numbers to 11 or more?
See the DAMP exemption for micro-business page for information on all Micro-business questions.
- Can someone who is on a medication that is known to be detected in an initial drug test be exempt from DAMP and CASA testing?
We understand the personal and workplace inconvenience but the safety risk has to still be managed.
An exemption from testing could open the possibility of abuse or compromise fitness for duty being assessed.
Having a robust DAMP in place will help to ensure a speedy process to return SSAA employees to work through a medical review officer (MRO).
A review by the medical review officer is also required to assess fitness for duty if taking detectable medications.
- What medications can I take when performing SSAA?
CASA cannot provide advice in relation to what medications you can or cannot take or advice on quantities. Medications and combinations of medications affect individuals in different ways. Your doctor, pharmacist or Designated Aviation Medical Examiner (DAME) is the person to seek advice from.
You also have a responsibility to advise your DAMP supervisor or manager if you are taking any medications which could affect your fitness for SSAA duties, or if it contains a testable substance.
- I need information on reporting
- What must I do with DAMP records after 5 years?
All records associated with testing must be deleted or destroyed as DAMP records. You could seek independent advice as to where else these test records could be retained within your company records.
See the Implementing a DAMP - Administrative obligations for DAMP organisations page for more information.
There is also information in the DAMP Guidance Manual (1.26MB) under chapter 6.6 DAMP record keeping (p. 22).
- Are foreign aircraft AOC holders subject to Part 99?
Yes, however there is an exemption available to these operators Foreign aircraft AOC holders The exemption outlines the conditions of providing CASA with the details of a contact person and as far as is practicable, complying with the spirit and intent of aspects of Part 99.
These operator's SSAA employees are subject to CASA's random testing in Australia.
- Does Part 99 apply to CAR 30 and Part 145 organisations operating overseas?
Yes, however there is an exemption available to these operators DAMP exemption for CAR 30 or Part 145 organisations overseas The organisation must notify CASA, in writing, the measures in place to ensure SSAA employees/contractors are not performing duties while affected by drugs or alcohol.
- I don't have an employee, do I still need to have a DAMP?
If your organisation has a relevant CASA permission and has even one employee (this could be the Director) and they perform or are available to perform SSAA, then Yes.
See the Does my organisation need a DAMP? fact sheet for more information.
- Am I able to drink alcohol in an aerodrome testing area or in an area which has access to an aerodrome testing area? i.e. our Hangar?
The regulations do not disallow alcohol to be consumed in areas where SSAA are performed or aerodrome testing areas, the regulatory requirement is that whilst SSAA Employees are in these areas that the permitted drug and alcohol levels are not exceeded. Organisations need to take into consideration their organisations policy, culture and any risk to aviation safety.
- It seems to me that the regulation 99.075 indicates that I cannot choose to terminate someone's employment after a positive test?
If after returning a positive drug or alcohol test, a DAMP organisation intends to allow a SSAA employee to continue to perform or be available to perform a SSAA, the organisation must permit a SSAA employee time to attend a nominated drug or alcohol intervention program, if a DAMP medical review officer (MRO) has advised the DAMP organisation that the employee should attend the program.
For further information see 'when can an employee resume performing SSAAs?' in the DAMP Guidance Manual.
- Do Student Pilots, Visitors and Volunteers come under our DAMP?
Student Pilots and Volunteers:
Anyone who is contracted or employed, and is performing or available to perform SSAA, whether they are paid or not are to be covered under an organisation's DAMP.
That is, if the person is employed or engaged by the DAMP organisation to perform SSAA for them, and this is clearly stated in a contractual agreement, employment contract, or other such agreement that the DAMP organisation has in place with the person.
Therefore, a student pilot would be required to be “covered” (meaning, having completed the DAMP education program and being subject to the DAMP testing program) by an organisation's/flying schools DAMP if that student were also employed or under contract by the flying school to perform SSAA on their behalf. That is, the student pilot had a contract with the flying school that stated they were employed, or engaged as a volunteer (whether paid or unpaid) to perform SSAA for the school.
Note: The above circumstance is NOT the same as a student pilot contracting the services of a flying school for the purposes of obtaining training in order to gain a pilot’s licence, where there is no contract or written agreement stating the student is employed by or engaged by the flying school as a volunteer.
Some aerodromes and aerodrome testing areas have in place strict WHS requirements for entry of visitors and employees. These may include the requirement to submit to a drug and alcohol test.
Under Part 99 of CASR, only SSAA employees are required to be drug and alcohol tested by a DAMP Organisation. However, if there are stricter requirements in place, for example at a mining site governed under the WHS Act, then a visitor may be required to comply with that organisation’s drug and alcohol testing requirements prior to being granted access to the premises, or specific areas on the premises.