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Drugs and alcohol in the workplace

Last updated June 2024

This chapter explains your legal obligations in relation to drugs and alcohol in the workplace.

You have a duty under health and safety legislation to ensure your employees do not endanger their own or others’ safety at work through the effects of:

  • smoking;
  • alcohol; or
  • other drugs – whether legally or illegally consumed.
Important: Employees also have a legal duty not to put themselves or others at risk through their actions.

Drug and alcohol use can create health and safety risks in the workplace, which can lead to:

  • workplace accidents;
  • workplace violence;
  • workers’ compensation claims;
  • increased staff turnover; and
  • increased absenteeism and personal leave.

According to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, alcohol use contributes to 11% of workplace accidents and injuries, and alcohol-related time off work costs companies around $2 billion each year.