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Harmful consumption of alcohol is more prevalent in some industries than others, pointing to environmental, cultural and workplace stressors as factors. The highest rate of drinking is among administrative and executive staff. Other heavy drinking occupations include mine workers, salespersons, clerical staff, professionals, transport workers, tradespeople and labourers

Workplace duty of care

The issue of the adverse effects of alcohol consumption is covered under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (OHS Act 2004). The Act requires:

  • employers to provide and maintain a working environment that is safe and without risks to health (Section 21). Without in any way limiting the generality of this duty, employers have duties with respect to plant, substances and systems of work; providing facilities for and information, instruction training and supervision to their employees; monitoring their health and safety and so on (Sections 21(2) and 22)
  • employers and self employed persons to ensure that persons other than employees (which would include the public) are not exposed to risks to their health or safety arising from the undertaking of the employer or self-employed person (Sections 23 and 24)
  • employees to take reasonable care for their own health and safety and that of others (for example, ensuring they are not, by use of alcohol, affected in a way that may put themselves or others at risk); and to co-operate with employers in their efforts to comply with OHS requirements (Section 25).


Developing A Workplace Alcohol Policy is a practical guide to dealing with alcohol in the workplace, which covers: 

  • occupations and alcohol
  • alcohol policy and program development
  • employee assistance programs (EAPs)
  • approaching a worker under the influence
  • counseling and discipline procedure
  • confidentiality
  • how alcohol and chemicals affect performance
  • hazardous substances
  • pesticides
  • solvents
  • tips for setting out a workplace alcohol policy
  • discipline
  • resources.

View the publication 'Developing A Workplace Alcohol Policy'