Safety Bulletin NRB22-05 - Drugs & Alcohol - Increased Test Failures

    Safety Bulletin NRB22-05 – Drugs & Alcohol – Increased Test Failures


    Testing in the first three periods this year has found 16 people under the influence of drugs or alcohol who should not have been at work. The number is much worse than last year. Of the failures:

  • 7 were due to alcohol,
  • 4 due to cannabis, and
  • 5 due to cocaine use.
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    Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol at work impairs judgement and creates safety risks to yourself, colleagues, passengers on the railway and members of the public.

    Network Rail’s life-saving rule states, “Never drive or work while under the influence of drugs or alcohol”.

    Attending work under the influence is not allowed. If you test positive, you can expect to lose your job. In addition, you will not be allowed to do any work on the railway that is safety critical or requires you to hold Personal Track Safety for at least five years.


  • Are you familiar with the requirements of Network Rail’s drugs and alcohol policy NR/L1/OHS/051?
  • Could you and your colleagues recognise the signs that a person may be under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol at work?
  • Would you and your colleagues feel confident with how to raise concerns about your own or another person’s drug and/or alcohol usage?
  • Are you aware that there is support available to employees who voluntarily declare a drug and/or alcohol misuse concern?
  • Would you know where to ask for this support?
  • Anyone with concerns about a colleague should report these to their line manager or confidentially using the Speak Out process to the National Operations Centre on 01908 723644 or 01908 723645)

  • Employees should be encouraged to disclose any concerns with drug and/or alcohol misuse, and be informed that support is available via occupational health where voluntarily declared and not in anticipation of a drug and alcohol test.



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