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Alcohol and other drugs

Last updated June 2019

This chapter explains the health and safety risks associated with alcohol and drugs in the workplace, and how to address those risks.

When to be concerned about alcohol and drug consumption in your workplace

Drug and alcohol consumption is not always a problem. It is legal for workers to consume some drugs, including caffeine and medically prescribed drugs, while at work.

It does, however, become an issue when workers abuse drugs and alcohol, for example:

  • consuming an excessive amount of alcohol;
  • consuming alcohol when sick or in combination with prescription medications;
  • using illegal drugs;
  • using prescribed drugs not in accordance with the prescription;
  • using over-the-counter drugs not in accordance with instructions or for a genuine medical reason;
  • operating a vehicle or heavy equipment while affected by drugs or alcohol; and
  • using or consuming other substances inappropriately, e.g. glue or paint sniffing.
Important: Workers found to have engaged in illegal practises, e.g. using or possessing illicit drugs or operating a heavy vehicle while intoxicated, may be prosecuted under criminal legislation.