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Can we provide over-the-counter painkillers to workers?

Q: Is there legislation or regulations that stipulates an employer cannot provide workers paracetamol in the workplace?

A: There is no express restriction in the work health and safety legislation that prevents an employer from providing medication to workers.

However, the Safe Work Australia First Aid in the Workplace Code of Conduct provides that medication, including analgesics like paracetamol and aspirin, should not be included in first aid kits because of their potential to cause adverse health effects in some people. These include pregnant women, asthmatics and people with other medical conditions.

The supply of these medications may also be controlled by drugs and poisons laws. The Code of Conduct suggests that workers requiring prescribed and over-the-counter medications should carry their own medication for their personal use.

Please note: The answer is correct at the time of publishing. Be aware that laws may change over time. Refer to First aid for current advice.

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