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Understanding drug and alcohol testing programs
What is a drug and alcohol testing program?
A drug and alcohol testing program is a mandatory component of an organisation's Drug and Alcohol Management Plan (DAMP) under Subpart 99B of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998. Its aim is to ensure that people under the influence of alcohol and other drugs (AOD) while performing 'safety sensitive aviation activities' (SSAAs) are promptly identified and tested.
The testing program should also have a deterrent effect on problematic AOD use by current and future employees.
Who must be tested and when?
All employees, including contractors, sub-contractors and volunteers, who perform, or are available to perform SSAAs must be
AOD tested in the following circumstances:
- When an employee first joins an organisation as a 'regular SSAA employee'.
- When a DAMP supervisor has 'reasonable grounds' to believe that an SSAA employee may be adversely affected by AOD.
- When an SSAA employee is returning to work after suspension due to testing positive to a testable drug.
- After an 'accident' or 'serious incident'.
How is testing administered?
Under Subpart 99B alcohol tests must only be conducted by taking a sample of the employee's breath.
Breath alcohol testing must be done on a device that meets Australian Standard AS3547, regardless of whether that testing is conducted in-house or by an external testing provider. The person administering the test does not need any particular accreditation; however the device must be used according to the manufacturer's instructions.
An organisation can choose to conduct drug testing using:
- oral fluid; or
- urine; or
- a combination of both.
Collection of specimens must be conducted by either a:
- Testing provider accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) to collect according to the 'relevant standards' (AS 4760 for oral fluid testing and AS 4308 for urine testing).
See fact sheeet Finding a suitable Drug Testing Provider.
- Trained collector, doctor, nurse or 'capable person' using CASA's Exemption of DAMP organisations for collection and screening of specimens.
What should we test for?
DAMP organisations are required to test SSAA employees for the following the following substances:
What happens if an initial test returns a positive result?
A confirmatory test is conducted in the time period specified by the device manufacturer's instructions. If the level is 0.02 grams of alcohol per 210 litres of breath or above, this is considered a positive alcohol test and the employee must cease SSAAs.
The employee must cease SSAAs and a confirmatory test is conducted by a suitably accredited testing provider to determine the presence and level of the testable drug.
See the Understanding drug and alcohol response programs factsheet for what happens next.
CASR Part 99B - Quick reference guide to drug and alcohol testing programs
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 ComLaw website under the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998.
|Drug and alcohol testing requirements||99.050|
|Requirements relating to use of testing devices||99.060|
|Safety sensitive aviation activities (SSAAs) covered by Part 99||99.015|
|Definitions - 'safety sensitive aviation activities' (SSAAs) 'accident'; 'serious incident'; 'SSAA employee'; 'regular SSAA employee'; 'relevant standard' 'initial alcohol test'; 'initial drug test'; 'confirmatory test'||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.
See fact sheet Finding a suitable Drug Testing Provider.