Employees have responsibilities too when it comes to alcohol


You’ve had a big night out and didn’t stop drinking until 2am. Now it’s 7.30am and your mate will be picking you up for work in 5 minutes. Should you go and what are you risking if you do go to work while under the influence?

The most obvious risk is if you are tested for alcohol, you’ll be over the limit. Depending on your work’s drug and alcohol policy and whether you have any other black marks against you, you may even lose your job. But is this the biggest risk you face?

In fact, losing your job by failing an alcohol test is just one of the potential consequences for coming to work under the influence of alcohol, and it could be argued it’s not the greatest risk:

  • Employees have a duty of care under the OHS Act to not recklessly endanger other people in a workplace, so by going to work under the influence you could potentially be prosecuted under the Act.
  • Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs puts your own safety at risk. Do you have dependents who rely on you, such as a partner and kids?
  • Working while under the influence of alcohol puts other people at risk. Anyone who injures a work colleague – or dare we say it kills a work colleague – is likely to feel enormous guilt. Apart from the legal and job consequences of injuring or killing someone while under the influence of alcohol, can you imagine the guilt you would feel?
  • Working while under the influence is also a health risk as you’ll be more prone to dehydration, heat stress and other health issues.

So, while there may be consequences of reporting in sick after a big night out, it’s still could be your best choice. Better yet, wind back the clock and stop drinking a few hours earlier. Having a few drinks less is a small price to pay when you consider the potential consequences.

Employee responsibilities - failing an alcohol test could be the least of your worries.

By Michael

Michael is the founder of Integrity Sampling and is responsible for overseeing all national operations. He is based at Integrity Sampling's head office in Melbourne and is also responsible for the co-ordination of drug and alcohol testing within Victoria, assisting in the implementation of drug and alcohol (fit for work) policies and the presentation of drug and alcohol education and awareness programs. You can connect with Michael Wheeldon on LinkedIn

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