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Fit for purpose drug and alcohol policies to keep rail safe

Rail organisations are obliged to undertake drug and alcohol testing of staff in safety critical roles. But drug testing is a complex and rapidly evolving field. With a wide and ever-changing range of available drugs, what is the best approach to testing?

​Drug and alcohol policies need to adapt to the latest research and expert advice to ensure they remain fit-for-purpose.   Our research provides information on the likelihood of a drug being taken; its impact on performance; test availability; and how the windows for detecting substances impact testing routines.  The list of drugs that are tested for should be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure it is current. 


Organisations should also consider the broader issues, such as: susceptibility of tests to deliberate compromise; factors that could lead to false positives and safeguarding against them; quality assurance and analytical validity; workforce acceptance of approaches to taking samples; chain of custody best practice; legal implications of testing; and, rehabilitation strategies. 

Topics covered:

  • Drug taking and its impact on performance
  • Approaches to drug testing
  • Deliberate compromise of testing
  • Validity and assurance of test results
  • Workforce acceptability of testing routines
  • Rehabilitation strategies


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