Alcohol and Drugs Policy Statement

As a responsible employer and sponsor of Sentinel staff we agree to honour both our statutory and corporate obligation to meet the requirements of,

  • The Health and Safety at Work Act
  • The Transport and Works Act
  • Group standard GE/RT 8070 – Testing Railway Safety Critical Workers for Drugs and Alcohol
  • Guidance Note GE/GN 8570 – Guidance on the Management of Drugs and Alcohol
  • Network Rail Standard NR/L2/OHS/00120 (Testing for Drugs and Alcohol)
  • Network Rail Company Standard NR/L1/OHS/051 (Drugs and Alcohol)

In so doing we believe we shall be satisfying the needs and expectations of our business, employees and clients through the application of effective control measures in the use and abuse of alcohol and drugs in the workplace and on Network Rail’s managed infrastructure. (NRMI)

It is subsequently a mandatory condition of employment and sponsorship, that all staff we employ and sponsor shall not;

  • Report or endeavour to report for duty, having just consumed alcohol or when under the influence of unauthorised drugs.
  • Report for duty in an unfit state due to the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Be in possession of unauthorised drugs in the workplace
  • Abuse authorised drugs or consume any alcohol whilst on duty

It is also a mandatory requirement that all staff we employ and / or sponsor are fully aware and agree to comply with the following terms and conditions as an integral part of their contract of employment;

  • Pre-employment Screening – all personnel we sponsor to hold Sentinel competencies are required to validate they have been subject to an A&D Screen in the past three months, or to undertake pre-employment / sponsorship alcohol and drug screening prior to their appointment, training and sponsorship.
  • Unannounced Screening – once sponsored staff shall be subject to unannounced screening through a random selection process in line with the Company’s commitment to achieve at least 5% of those sponsored on an annual basis. (Note: this level may be increased or reduced based on the Company’s perception of ‘Risk’, whereby its current activity, and the roles of those employed and sponsored would be taken into account)

Staff involved in the selection process shall not themselves hold Sentinel competency, and those staff selected shall not be given prior notice of the screening process taking place, other than on the day they are to be screened.

Following unannounced screening - those screened shall be allowed to continue to work as normal while awaiting their results, unless of course there are reasonable grounds to suspect they may be unfit for duty.

  • For Cause Screening - Following an accident, incident or near miss, staff whose acts or omissions may have lead or contributed to its cause may be subject to ‘For Cause Screening’.

Staff suspected to be under the influence of alcohol and / or drugs may also subject to for-cause screening, and as such the same terms and conditions shall apply.

Staff subject to for-cause screening shall be suspended from any on-track / safety critical duties until such time as a ‘pass’ (negative) result has been confirmed.

  • Prescribed / Over the Counter Medication – All staff holding an Sentinel competency, must in all instances notify their immediate supervisor when prescribed and taking medication that may in any way have a detrimental effect on the performance of their duties.

Supervisors notified by a staff member taking over the counter or prescribed medication shall satisfy themselves the staff member concerned is fit to work within a rail environment by one or a combination of the measures listed below;

  • Reviewing instructions printed on the medication
  • Seeking professional medical advice, or
  • Utilising its Rail Advisory Service ‘Chemist On-Call’

Those who are not sure of the effect the medication may have should in all instances seek advice from their supervisor, as once screened and a ‘failed’ result confirmed, those affected will be subject to standard disciplinary procedures as a ‘Failed Result’.

Refusal to undertake Drug and Alcohol Testing – any refusal to undertake any form of required alcohol and drug screen will be determined to be a failed test result; and as such the employee(s) concerned shall be subject to disciplinary action.

Declaration of Abuse:
Those staff members who declare abuse of alcohol and / or drugs prior to pre- employment screening shall jeopardize their potential appointment with this Company, in addition to which shall not be sponsored by this Company for any Sentinel competency.

Failed (Positive) Result:
Following any form of alcohol and drug screening, those who receive a failed result shall be:

  • Immediately de-sponsored for all Sentinel competencies
  • Notified to Sentinel as a positive result
  • Subject to Company disciplinary procedures, which may result in dismissal
  • Prevented from being considered for further work on rail projects on behalf of this Company for at least five years

No Result:
In instances of ‘No Result’, as described within NR/L2/OHS/00118, the screening company shall continue with the screening process until either a validated ‘Pass’ or ‘Fail’ result has been confirmed.

Staff recording a ‘No Result’ shall be ‘Stood Down’ from rail working duty until such time as a ‘Pass’ result has been confirmed.

Records of Alcohol and Drug Screening:
All records of alcohol and drug screening shall be kept in staff files for future reference and audit purposes.

In so doing, those screened shall also receive a copy for their own information and future reference purposes.

Additional and separate records of unannounced screening shall be kept to demonstrate and validate the required 5% unannounced screening of sponsored staff.

In instances where for whatever reason the numbers of staff sponsored over this period varies, the number of records kept shall correlate to these levels and they shall in turn provide demonstrable evidence of compliance.

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