Being under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol (D&A) at work is a safety issue. What can you do if you’re concerned about teammates, and where does CIRAS fit?

Graphic of a head made from drugs and alcohol representing substance abuse

Potential effects on safety

Here are some ways being under the influence of D&A can make work unsafe.

  • It can impact on mental health, behaviour and work relationships.
  • It can cause mental distraction and an inability to focus.
  • People may take more risks.
  • There can be a loss of energy or motivation.
  • It can lead to increased fatigue.
  • It can cause shaking, unsteadiness or lack of coordination.
  • There can be more chance of accidents or near-misses.

There are also risks to your health and you could lose your job.

Get familiar with your company's D&A policy if you're not sure about the rules.

Being under the influence can lead to accidents in the workplace

Above: Being under the influence can lead to accidents in the workplace

Did you know?

Network Rail recently updated its D&A standard for anyone working on its infrastructure, including the supply chain. It is increasing randomly selected D&A testing from 5% to 20% of all safety-critical workers.

More information on Network Rail's D&A standard for suppliers

Drunk woman hunched over with a glass of alcohol

Above: Alcohol abuse can lead to fatigue and mental distraction as well as health issues.

What can you do?

D&A is a real-time issue, which means it can immediately affect safety. So you’ll need to use the real-time reporting channels at your work, including telling a manager or supervisor. CIRAS doesn’t take these concerns.

  • You can contact CIRAS if you are concerned about a company’s D&A policy or how it handles D&A issues if you think it affects safety. We don’t take concerns about individuals who may be under the influence of D&A because this is a problem that needs to be addressed immediately, and to protect confidentiality.
  • If you suspect someone is under the influence of D&A at work on the railway, under Network Rail’s Speak Out policy you can contact the National Operations Centre on 01908 723644 or 01908 723645.
  • On the railway, you can use Network Rail’s Speak Out whistleblowing service if you believe someone is struggling with a drug/alcohol problem but they don’t appear to be under the influence at work.Contact 0808 143 0100.

Help with substance misuse

Narcotics Anonymous, 0300 999 1212

Alcoholics Anonymous, 0800 917 7650

Talk to Frank, 0300 123 6600

Drinkaware, 0300 123 1110