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Workplace Drug and Alcohol Policy

Version 1.1 Updated 1 May 2024
Policy Manage

Who can use this Policy

This Policy can be used by all employers.

Commentary

The commentary which follows is not legal advice, rather it is a general guide to understand the drug and alcohol policy. If you are unsure about any aspect, you should seek advice from a workplace lawyer.

Why have a drug and alcohol policy?

Drug and alcohol consumption can diminish a person’s attention and faculties. In the context of the workplace, a person can be a potential source of harm to themselves and others if they are affected by alcohol or drugs by employees. Employers have responsibilities to provide safe working environments, and so it follows that an employer has an interest to avoid the potentially adverse consequences of drug or alcohol consumption.

This policy is one of the tools available to the employer to manage health and safety risks at work.

This policy should be used in conjunction with any alcohol and drug testing procedures which must be compliant with Australian regulatory standards.

When using the template for this policy, you should have regard to the following considerations:

  • Whether your business is required to consult with employees or union(s) in the introduction of the policy. Awards, Enterprise agreements, existing policies, or existing consultative mechanisms are potential sources of obligation and should be checked. In addition, work health and safety laws and regulations are also sources of potential consultation obligation.
  • Whether as a matter of practice you wish to consult with any union(s) in your workplace in order to gain their co-operation and support for the policy.
  • This policy contains an option to include provisions for conducting drug and alcohol testing. If the policy provides for testing, the type of testing (breath test, urine sample, oral swab, blood test etc) must be appropriate and suitable. Testing should be performed by skilled technicians and appropriate consents from participants should be obtained.
  • Whether the policy should be made available in languages other than English in order to promote understanding and compliance.
  • The policy is written to apply to all employees, contractors, visitors etc. These ‘workplace participants’ should be made aware of the policy, the standards that are expected of them, and the consequences of non-compliance.
  • Training is a means to promote understanding and compliance. Ideally, training should take place as part of the induction procedure. A record of training should be kept and this should include an acknowledgement by the participant of their attendance.
  • The policy extends to all functions and places that are work-related. For example, conferences, work lunches, Christmas parties, client functions etc.
  • The policy should be applied consistently, and in a non-discriminatory way.
  • Non-compliance with the Policy may have disciplinary consequences. The nature of discipline should be proportionate to the nature of the non-compliance.
  • Review the policy regularly and take into account any changes in relevant laws and practice.
  • Develop supporting documentation. This includes notification and consent forms for the workplace participant to undertake the necessary testing, and to any medical practitioner/agency/clinic for the purposes of seeking the test results.
  • The policy contains a number of 'disclaimer from liability' clauses. These disclaimers are general in nature, and are not necessarily sufficient to avoid liability in every circumstance where a workplace participant’s behaviour causes injury or damage.
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