Rail safety issues and actions

Drug & alcohol management

Issue number: RO-2012-006-SI-06
Who it affects: Rail – Rail maintenance
Issue owner: Transfield Services Australia
Transport function: Rail: Other
Background: Investigation Report RO-2012-006
Issue release date: 15 September 2014
Current issue status: Adequately addressed
Issue status justification:

The ATSB is satisfied that the action taken by Transfield Services Australia to effectively manage and reduce the presence of drugs and alcohol within the workplace has addressed this issue.

Safety issue description

Transfield did not have adequate systems in place to ensure workers were not adversely affected by drugs or alcohol while conducting safety related work in a remote work environment.

Proactive Action

Action number: RO-2012-006-NSA-015
Action organisation: Transfield Services Australia
Date: 15 September 2014
Action status: Closed

Transfield employees are no longer required to live in rest house conditions in remote locations following the cessation of the Services Agreement between Transfield and the ARTC. Notwithstanding this, Transfield has established numerous initiatives, and implemented a range of measures, to eliminate or reduce, to as low as is reasonably practicable, the risk to the health and safety of relevant Transfield personnel. These initiatives and measures promote and support a safe system of work through effective leadership and supervision. Some of the proactive safety measures taken by Transfield include but are not limited to the following.

  • Increasing the number of accredited Drug & Alcohol testers within the organisation.
  • Ongoing revision of the Drug and Alcohol Procedure and Policy. Senior safety management are in the process of reviewing the Drug and Alcohol Procedure. Proposed changes have not yet been finalised but will likely include the following:
  • Introducing a separate Fitness for Work Policy which will further address relevant matters regarding drugs & alcohol.
  • The introduction of drug saliva testing.
  • Engaging external providers to conduct drug and alcohol testing in remote locations (in addition to the in-house testing regime).
  • Immediately following the occurrence on 24 May 2012, information sessions were held with all Transfield employees on safety issues identified because of the occurrence. This included taking employees through the Drug & Alcohol Policy and Procedure. All supervisors and managers were required to sign a letter of assurance confirming that all relevant topics were covered.
  • Ongoing education and enforcement of Transfield's Mandatory Safety Rules which prohibits employees from consuming or being under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs while at work.
  • Introducing Tailored Leadership Training for leaders across the rail business. This program is designed to specifically educate leaders within the organisation on the foundations of safety, communication, leadership and work planning skills.
Last update 15 September 2014