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Role of a Medical Review Officer (MRO)
What is an MRO?
Under Subpart 99B of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 a DAMP medical review officer (MRO) is a registered medical practitioner with:
- competence in the field of interpreting drug and alcohol test results
- knowledge of substance use disorders
- knowledge of the contents of Subpart 99B.
How does my organisation locate a DAMP MRO?
The Australasian Medical Review Officers Association (AMROA) maintains a list of accredited MROs. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list. An organisation may consult a medical practitioner of their choice, as long as they meet the competence and knowledge requirements set out above.
Note: to assist organisations meet the requirement that an MRO be familiar with the contents of Subpart 99B, CASA has developed a factsheet Quick reference guide for a DAMP Medical Review Officer (MRO) which organisations can present to any MRO they consult under their DAMP.
When must my organisation consult an MRO?
Under a Subpart 99B compliant DAMP, an organisation must consult a MRO in the following three circumstances:
- If a confirmatory drug test conducted under the organisation's DAMP returns a positive result - to determine if the presence and level of the testable drug detected by the test could be the result of legitimate therapeutic treatment or some other innocuous source
- for example, an over-the-counter cold and flu tablet could cause a positive result for amphetamines and a prescribed pain killer could contain detectable levels of codeine.
- If a SSAA employee has failed to give a body sample for AOD testing due to a medical condition, an MRO must review the relevant medical information to confirm that there is a valid medical reason
- for example, a lung condition could prevent a person from providing a breath sample.
- To determine if the employee is fit to resume performing or being available to perform a 'safety sensitive aviation activity' (SSAA) after they have been prevented from doing so following a 'suspension event'.
What is a 'suspension event'?
Subpart 99B requires that a DAMP organisation must not permit an employee to perform, or be available to perform, an applicable SSAA, in the following circumstances or 'suspension events':
- If a positive result for a confirmatory drug test has been recorded (under either the DAMP or CASA testing programs) and a MRO has ruled out that the result recorded could not be due to legitimate therapeutic treatment or some other innocuous source.
- If the organisation is aware that a SSAA employee after having been required to take a drug or alcohol test:
- refused to take the test
- interfered with the integrity of the test.
CASR Part 99B - Quick reference guide
DAMP organisations should ensure that they are familiar with the relevant regulations in Subpart 99B. The full text of Part 99 is available on the Federal Register of Legislation website under the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998.
|Requirements relating to a DAMP medical review officer||99.055|
|Suspension events||99.070 99.065|
|Definitions - 'applicable SSAA'; 'DAMP medical review officer'; 'safety sensitive aviation activities'; 'confirmatory drug test'; 'SSAA employee'.||99.010|
Need more information?
Visit Drug and Alcohol Management Plans (DAMP) - Part 99 on CASA's website for information on regulatory requirements, guidance materials, available exemptions, resources and contacts.