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Drugs and alcohol in the workplace

Last updated February 2019

This chapter outlines your legal obligations in relation to drugs and alcohol in the workplace, including implementing a drug and alcohol policy and undertaking drug and alcohol testing.

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 alcohol or illicit drugs.

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 sick leave.
Tip: It has been estimated that 2.5 million days are lost annually due to drinking and drug use at a cost of more than $680 million (based on statistics published by the Australian Alcohol and Drug Foundation).