Safety Topic

Alcohol
Harmful consumption of alcohol is more prevalent in some industries than others, pointing to environmental, cultural and workplace stressors as factors.

The issue of the adverse effects of alcohol consumption is covered under various State WHS Legislation (see legislation below).

Some significant negative impacts of alcohol and drug use include:

  • accidents and injury
  • absenteeism
  • lower productivity
  • staff turnover
  • poor morale and working relationships

Policy & Procedure
The most effective programs for management of alcohol and drug use are whole of workplace strategies involving management, employees and visitors.

The four basic components to effective alcohol and drug programs are:

  • A written drug and alcohol policy should be clearly communicated to all workers. It should be developed in consultation with workers, apply to everyone, clearly state what is acceptable behaviour and outline the consequences of any unacceptable behaviour.
  • Education and training is essential to make managers and workers aware of the policy. Implementation of the policy should involve a range of education and training strategies to improve understanding of alcohol and drugs including meetings, education sessions, newsletters, posters or workplace drug testing.
  • Counselling and treatment for workers with alcohol or drug problems and referring them to general practitioners, counsellors, community agencies or employee assistance programs.
  • Regular evaluation (an annual review process) to determine if the workplace policy is reaching its intended audience and meeting its objectives.

Workplace alcohol and drug programs are most effective if they are tailored to suit the specific conditions, needs and resources of individual workplaces. They should also adopt a multi-component, whole of workplace approach to create a culture that minimises the risk of alcohol and drug-related harm.

Legislation

QLD, NSW, ACT, NT, TAS and SA

The Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (QLDACT)  The Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017 (NSW), the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Regulations (NT) and the Work Health & Safety Regulation 2012 (SA TAS):

While at work, a worker must— (a) take reasonable care for his or her own health and safety; and (b) take reasonable care that his or her acts or omissions do not adversely affect the health and safety of other persons;

VIC

Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (OHS Act 2004).

The Act requires:

Employers to provide and maintain a working environment that is safe and without risks to health (Section 21). Without in any way limiting the generality of this duty, employers have duties with respect to plant, substances, and systems of work; providing facilities for and information, instruction training and supervision to their employees; monitoring their health and safety and so on (Sections 21(2) and 22)
employers and self employed persons to ensure that persons other than employees (which would include the public) are not exposed to risks to their health or safety arising from the undertaking of the employer or self-employed person (Sections 23 and 24)
employees to take reasonable care for their own health and safety and that of others (for example, ensuring they are not, by use of alcohol, affected in a way that may put themselves or others at risk); and to co-operate with employers in their efforts to comply with OHS requirements (Section 25).

WA

The Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984

An employee shall take reasonable care —
(a) to ensure his or her own safety and health at work; and
(b) to avoid adversely affecting the safety or health of any
other person through any act or omission at work.

 

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Safety Topics Alcohol