Drugs and alcohol

Alcohol and drugs can affect a person’s ability to work safely. This includes medicines that are prescribed or over-the-counter. 

As a person conducting a business or undertaking, you have a duty to keep workers and your workplace safe. 

Duties relating to drugs and alcohol 

Everyone in the workplace has WHS duties under the model WHS Act.  

You have specific duties if you are: 

  • a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) 

  • a principal contractor 

  • a designer, manufacturer, importer, supplier and installer of plant, substances or structures 

  • an officer. 

All workers have a duty to take reasonable care for their own health and safety and not adversely affect the safety of others. 

As a PCBU, you must manage health and safety risks. This might include setting specific policies for the use of drugs and alcohol.   

As a PCBU, you must, so far as is reasonably practicable:  

  • ensure the health and safety of workers and others at your workplace  

  • consult with workers who carry out work for the business or undertaking and who are (or are likely to be) directly affected by a health and safety matter, and 

  • consult cooperate and coordinate activities with all other relevant duty holders. 

Workers must: 

  • be fit and well enough to do their job 

  • not be under the influence of alcohol or drugs 

  • not use alcohol or illegal drugs while at work. 

Drug and alcohol limits 

There’s a legal blood alcohol level in some jobs, including road and rail transport, maritime and mining occupations. The law may prohibit a worker from being affected by any drugs – legal or illegal. 

Drug and alcohol testing 

Some companies have policies to test their workers for alcohol and illicit substances, particularly if a worker could kill or seriously injure themselves or someone else. 

Managing risks with drugs and alcohol 

Contact your WHS regulator for more information on your duties to manage drug and alcohol risks. 

Further guidance is available from: