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Guide for developing a workplace alcohol and other drugs policy - New information for employers

It has long been recognised that alcohol and other drug use, whether it occurs in or away from the workplace, becomes a health and safety issue if an employee's ability to exercise judgement, coordination, motor control, concentration and alertness at work is impaired.

Employees unfit for work due to alcohol or other drug use put themselves and others at risk of harm. Work colleagues may feel obliged to cover unsafe work practices or not report an affected employee due to loyalty or a fear of the consequences.
Employers may be faced with lateness, inefficiency and absenteeism, lost time and production due to injuries, damage to plant, equipment and other property.

WorkSafe Victoria has published a new guidebook entitled 'Guide for developing a workplace alcohol and other drugs policy'. The 28-page document aims to help employers establish a workplace alcohol and other drugs policy so that the associated risks to workplace health and safety be dealt with consistently, legally and to the benefit of both the employer and the employee. The guide explains that reference to drugs includes both prescription and illegal drugs.

The contents are as follows:

  • Legal obligations
  • The risk management process
  • Overview of alcohol and drug use
  • Developing an alcohol and other drugs policy
  • Supporting procedures
  • Privacy and confidentiality
  • Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)
  • Publicity and training
  • Evaluation
  • Tips for setting out a policy
  • Further information and resources
  • How alcohol and other drugs or chemicals affect performance

The guide provides excellent detailed assistance on the above topics. The section that deals with supporting procedures covers the following:

  • Identification of an employee not fit for work as a result of alcohol and/or other drug use
  • Approaching an employee under the influence
  • Work sponsored functions and the provision of alcohol
  • Counselling and discipline
  • Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)
  • Testing

The Guide for developing a workplace alcohol and other drugs policy is available on the WorkSafe website

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