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August 4 2016

Drugs, Alcohol and the Workplace

What obligations do employers hold to employees in terms of protecting them from other intoxicated workers? Persons Conducting Business or Undertaking (PCBUs) have an onerous duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers and others in their workplace under WHS laws. This includes the provision of a safe work environment, information, instruction, training and supervision in relation to WHS that extends to being under the influence of drugs or alcohol at work. In this context, what are 'reasonably practicable steps' to protect the health and safety of workers? A drug and alcohol policy should generally be introduced to regulate, if not eliminate, the use of drugs and alcohol in the workplace. It is important to assess the risks associated with drug and alcohol use in the workplace, document a policy that seeks to eliminate those risks, require compliance with the policy and procedure as a term of the employment agreement and consistently enforce non-compliance.