GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
MINISTRY OF RAILWAYS
No.2001/Safety-I/23/4 New Delhi-110001
27th November, 2001.
The General Manager(Safety)
All Indian Railways.
Sub: Revised Policy on ‘Drunkenness on duty’.
Board has approved the revised policy on drunkenness in order to make it more effective
for controlling drunkenness amongst staff, particularly safety categories. Revised Policy is sent
herewith as annexure. Railways are directed to get these policy booklets printed and implement the
revised policy on their system.
Necessary changes in concerned manuals shall be made by Ministry of Railways and will be
advised in due course.
Please acknowledge the receipt.
CC to all Federations
Safety(A&R) Branch for processing the modification in the concerned G.R.
DG/RDSO for early standardization of State- of-Art Breathalyzers.
DG/Health for processing necessary changes in Medical manual.
AM Commercial for making necessary amendments in Railway
DRUNKENNESS ON DUTY – A SAFETY HAZARD
(Revised Alcohol Policy for Indian Railways)
1. Aim of the Revised Policy:
(i) Ensuring that staffs who are having a drinking problem are identified.
(ii) Protect the health and welfare of staff by offering counselling and rehabilitation to
those with alcohol related problems.
(iii) Prevent risks to staff, passengers and the general public from abuses of alcohol by
staff in Safety critical posts.
(iv) Prevent the damaging effects of alcohol on optimum operational efficiency.
(v) Take up with staff who are incorrigible and are a danger both to themselves as also
to the system.
2. General Aspects of Revised Alcohol Policy:
(i) A booklet should be got printed by all Zonal Railways briefly explaining the revised
alcohol policy of Indian Railways, its aims and objectives, along with its benefits
both for the staff as also for the organisation as a whole.
(ii) It should be made applicable to all categories of Staff. However, for the present, for
overcoming logistic problems, it is proposed to introduce it only for those categories
of staff connected with train running.
(iii) The train running staff who would be covered under the Revised Alcohol Policy in
Phase-I are as follows:
(a) Drivers/Motormen/Asst. Driver/Guards.
(c) Pointsmen / Leverman/ Cabinmen/ Switchmen.
(iv) However in first phase it is to be introduced for the running staff as they are directly
involved in train running and their mistake may cause a serious accident which is
detrimental to safe running of passengers.
(v) The running staff viz driver, Asstt Driver shall undergo breathalyser test both at the
time of signing-on and Signing off as per Railway Board instructions.
(vi) The Station /yard staff and other categories of staff will be subjected to Sample test
/ Surprise test by supervisors and officers carrying portable breathalysers.
(vii) Officers should keep a list of all Senior Supervisors working under them who are
habitual of drinking.
(viii) Similarly, Senior Supervisors should keep a list of all staff working under them that is
habitual of drinking.
(ix) All such staff who is short-listed would now form the target population. They must
be divided into two categories as Chronic or Habitual depending on the severity of
their drinking habits.
(x) The idea is that each level ‘N’ must keep a watch on level ‘N–1’ immediately
below. For example, LI should keep a watch on all short listed drivers attached with
him; Crew Controller should keep a watch on all such Asstt. Drivers, and similarly
Station Master should keep a watch on the staff posted at his station.
(xi) For Indian conditions, the following Safety limits are laid down for the presence of
alcohol in blood and urine:
(a) Between 01- 20 mg/100 ml, the person concerned will not be allowed to
(b) Between 21 - 40 mg/100 ml of blood is dangerous.
(c) Between 41 - 70 mg/100 ml of blood is very dangerous.
(d) Beyond 70 mg/100 ml of blood requires immediate action.
3. Reformative Aspects of Revised Alcohol Policy:
(i) The following reformative action is to be taken for the staff short-listed as either
chronic or habitual.
(ii) Counselling of staff during initial/promotional training courses and periodical medical
examination. Employees should be told about hazards of drinking as also about the
short and long-term effects of drinking.
(iii) They should be counselled for:
(a) Not drinking alcohol eight hours before going on duty.
(b) Should not have smell of alcohol on their breath while on duty.
(c) Should not drink alcohol while on duty.
(iv) The railways may either decide to organise de-addiction camps within their own
resources on the same pattern as Southern Railway.
(v) Alternatively, NGOs should be identified at Zonal Head quarters and preferably at
each divisional Head quarters also for organising rehabilitation programmes for deaddiction.
(vi) Organising of these camps at regular intervals must be a continuous process and
should not be given up after a one-time exercise. The modalities for organising such
de-addiction camps may be worked out with each NGO on a long-term basis.
(vii) It can be decided as a policy that in case some expenditure is incurred by the
railway by way of payment to NGOs, then 50% of the same may borne by the
railway and 50% by the staff concerned.
(viii) The staff that has been categorised as habitual should be sent first, on priority, for
undergoing rehabilitation programme for de-addiction at the nominated centre in
preference to staff who have been categorised as cronic.
(ix) Staff who go for the de-addiction camp and successfully complete it will be kept
under watch for a further period of 6 months and thereafter taken off the list.
(x) Staff who undergo the rehabilitation programme but are unsuccessful in their first
attempt will be given a second chance for undergoing the de-addiction camp.
(xi) Staff who is unsuccessful a second time will be medically decategorised and taken
off Safety critical posts.
(xii) Staff who refuse to go will be dealt with as follows:
(a) No further promotion.
(b) Special check to be kept on their working with particular reference to
frequent and surprise breathalyser tests and blood/urine samples.
(c) Any lapses on their part will be dealt with as laid down under item no. 5.
4. Preventive Aspects of Revised Alcohol Policy:
(i) While recruiting staff for safety critical posts of Asstt. Driver or Lever man or ASM,
each candidate must be screened for alcohol content in their blood. Alcohol level of
any amount will render the candidate unsuitable for recruitment.
(ii) Each staff should be held responsible for ensuring that they do not hand over/take
charge from another staff who is under the influence of Alcohol. Failure to do so will
make them liable for disciplinary action.
(iii) Each staff should be held responsible for ensuring that they report all cases of any of
their co-workers who is under the influence of Alcohol on duty. Failure to do so will
make them liable for disciplinary action.
(iv) All Driver’s and Guard’s Lobbies must be provided with heavy-duty breathalysers,
which are capable of indicating the blood alcohol level from breathalyser test alone.
A stand by breathalyser may also be made available.
(v) All Running/Operating Officers/Inspectors must be provided with portable
breathalysers for conducting surprise checks especially with regard to those staff
who have been categorised as either chronic or habitual.
(vi) No Running staff will be allowed to sign on for duty without undergoing the
breathalyser test. The readings of the breathalyser test must be entered in the signing
(vii) In case the result of the breathalyser test is positive then a printout of the readings
must be obtained for further action.
(viii) In case the staff concerned refuses to co-operate in undergoing the breathalyser test,
he should be taken up under D&AR.
5. Deterrent Aspects of Revised Alcohol Policy:
(i) Immediate supervisors of staff should be used as auditing agency for purposes of
conducting surprise checks etc.
(ii) Post Accident medical examination of all the involved staff should invariably be
resorted to immediately. This should be irrespective of whether the staff concerned
is prima facie responsible for the accident or not.
(iii) Post Accident medical examination will give employees involved the opportunity of
proving that alcohol played no part in causing the accident.
(iv) The employee should be removed from safety critical post while waiting for the
results of the Post Accident medical examination.
(v) In case results of the alcohol test are positive then the staff concerned should be
taken up under D&AR.
(vi) Random surprise checks should be carried out on the staff. If they refuse for test the
following action must be taken:
(a) Will not be considered for promotion.
(b) To be taken up under D&AR proceedings.
(vii) If a Supervisor/Officer has a reasonable cause to suspect the fitness on duty.
(a) Relieve from duty, until tested.
(b) Remove from safety critical duties while waiting for results.
(viii) If the result of the random medical check turns out to be positive, then the staff
concerned should be taken up under D&AR.
6. Punishment Norms:
(i) Staff who is found with alcohol level of between 01 – 20 mg/100 ml of blood will
not be permitted to perform duty.
(ii) Staff who is found with alcohol level of between 21 – 40 mg/100 ml of blood will be
issued a minor penalty in each case.
(iii) Staff who is found with alcohol level of between 41 – 70 mg/100 ml of blood will be
issued a major penalty in each case.
(iv) Staff who is found with alcohol level of beyond 70-mg/100 ml of blood will be
placed under suspension and disciplinary proceedings initiated against him for
reversion from the safety critical post.
(v) For repeated detection of 3 times, irrespective of the level of alcohol detected,
disciplinary proceedings will be initiated against the staff concerned for reversion
from the safety critical post.
State of Art Breathalyser equipment capable of giving exact level of Alcohol content
in the blood including print outs need to be introduced. These breathalysers should
necessarily have the memory function so as in case of suspect a print out can be taken
at a convenient location. Traffic Directorate of RDSO will standardise specifications
of Fuel cell sensor based breathalysers.
7. Changes required in Manuals and Rule Books:
The revised alcohol policy for the Indian Railway will necessitate the following:
(i) Amendment in the Indian Railway Act.
(ii) Amendment in the Medical Manual.
(iii) Inclusion of a Chapter in the General and Subsidiary Rules.
(iv) The above amendments can only be carried out after holding discussions with
organised labour unions.
The Directorate concerned of Railway Board will amend the rules as per the above policy.
Existing provisions in various Manuals and Rule Books
1.1 Provision in Indian Railway Act 1989
Article 172: Penalty for Intoxication: If any Railway servant is in a state of
intoxication while on duty, he shall be punishable with fine which may
extend to five hundred rupees and when the performance of duty in
such state is likely to endanger the safety of any person travelling on or
being upon a railway, such railway servant shall be punishable with
imprisonment for a term which may be extended to one year, or with
fine or with both.
1.2 Provision in General and Subsidiary Rules:
GR 2.09 Taking Alcoholic drink, sedative, narcotic, stimulant drug or
(i) While on duty no railway servant shall, whether he is directly
connected with the working of trains or not, be in a state of
intoxication or in a state in which by reason of his having taken
or used alcoholic drink, sedative, narcotic or stimulant drug or
preparation his capacity to perform his duties is impaired.
(ii) No railway servant directly connected with the working of trains,
shall take or use any alcoholic drink, sedative, narcotic or
stimulant drug or preparation within eight hours before the
commencement of his duty or take or use any such drink, drug
or preparation when on duty.
SR 2.09/1 Railway servant found intoxicated
(i) Railway servant found in a state of intoxication on Railway premises
whether on or off duty, will be liable to summary dismissal.
(ii) When any railway servant is found intoxicated on the railway premises
or suspected to be in a state of intoxication, the evidence of two
independent witnesses and if possible, a medical report regarding his
condition should be obtained. Arrangements for his relief should be
immediately made and matter reported to the proper authority.
2.0 Indian Railway Medical Manual:
(i) As per Indian Railway Medical Manual (Article 564), a person is drunk
when he is so much under the influence of an intoxicating drink or
drug as to lose control of his faculties to such an extent as to render
him unable to execute safety the occupation at which he is engaged at
the material time (Ministry of Railways letter No.69/H/3/26, dated 03-
(ii) Article 565 describes the mode of checking drunkenness – Annexure
‘A’. Para 5 describes that a Railway doctor when certifying case of
drunkenness, should base his opinion on following consideration
(a) Whether the person concerned has recently consumed alcohol.
(b) Whether the person concerned is so much under the influence of
alcohol as to have lost control of his faculties to such an extent as to render him unable to execute safely the occupation on
which he was engaged at the material time.
(c) Whether his state is due, wholly or partially, to a pathological
condition which causes symptoms similar to those of an
alcoholic intoxication, irrespective of the amount of alcohol
(iii) He should not certify the case as drunk just because patient smells of
alcohol. The quantity taken also is no guide, but the fact of impairment
of his capacity to perform his duties has to be taken into account.
(iv) The program for recording particulars of suspected cases of
drunkenness is annexed herewith.
Annexure – I
564.All drunkenness cases be examined carefully:-
(1) Every case of drunkenness is a potential medico-legal case and the Railway doctor called
upon to certify such a case should make a careful examination and should note down every
(2) Railway doctors may also have to issue drunkenness certificates to persons produced by
police at places where there are no civil hospitals or dispensaries and only a Railway
hospital or health unit exists.
(3) In places where prohibition is in force, it is an offence even if one has imbibed alcohol, let
alone getting drunk. When a case is brought, the Railway doctor should carefully examine
the case and certify as to whether:
(a) The person has imbibed alcohol but not drunk or that
(b) The person is actually drunk i.e. under the influence of alcohol.
(1) The Performa for recording particulars of a suspected case of drunkenness is given in
Annexure-XIX to this chapter.
This form should always be kept handy as the Railway
doctor may be called upon to certify drunkenness at any moment and sometimes away from
(2) It is desirable that a Railway doctor, when certifying cases of drunkenness, should base his
opinion on the following consideration: -
(i) Whether the person concerned has recently consumed alcohol.
(ii) Whether the person concerned is so much under the influence of alcohol as to have
lost control of his faculties to such an extent as to render him unable to execute
safely the occupation on which he was engaged at the material time.
(iii) Whether his state is due, wholly or partially, to a pathological condition, which
causes symptoms similar to those of alcoholic intoxication, irrespective of the
amount of alcohol consumed.
(1) He should not certify the case a drunk just because the patient smells of alcohol. The
quantity taken is also no guide, but the fact of impairment of his capacity to perform his
duties has to be taken into account.
565. Instructions regarding issue of certificates for drunkenness
(1) When a Railway doctor is called upon to certify a case of drunkenness in a Railway
employee, he should after careful examination immediately report by a telegram or urgent
letter his opinion to the immediate superior or Divisional Officer of the employee concerned
intimating whether the employees should be put off duty or not.
(2) When a Railway doctor is asked to certify the crew of a running locomotive and if on
examination he finds a member of the same under the influence of alcohol, he should
immediately issue a memo to the authority concerned, putting the person off duty.
(3) As far as possible, the Senior Assistant Divisional Medical Officer themselves should undertake to examine such cases of drunkenness rather than depot their juniors, and in case
of doubt, should refer the case to the Divisional Medical Officer or Assistant Divisional Medical Officer in charge of his section.