Drugs and alcohol in Western Australian workplaces

The consequences of drug use may be far greater than you might think.

It’s probably safe to assume we all know about the dangers of alcohol and other drugs on Western Australia’s roads, but what about the danger in our workplaces?

Western Australia’s Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety has developed an excellent summary of the issue of drugs and alcohol in the workplace on their website (see the Guidance about alcohol and other drugs page).

It sets the scene by explaining that any drug – whether it’s prescribed or illegal – can impair a worker and their ability to exercise judgement, maintain coordination, motor control and concentration, and stay alert. While productivity, absenteeism and morale can be affected in any Western Australian workplace when drugs and alcohol are introduced, in some workplaces the impact of drugs and alcohol can be deadly. This includes Western Australian workplaces where:

  • Machinery is operated
  • Driving is required
  • Tasks where concentration and motor control is relied upon to carry out the job safely
  • Hazardous substances are used or handled
  • Tasks are performed as part of a team

Alcohol and other drugs policy and procedures

If your Western Australian workplace is safety focussed, there are things you can do to protect your employees and the business, and it starts with the development of a drugs and alcohol policy and supporting procedures.

As stated on the Guidance about alcohol and other drugs page, your policy and procedures should set out clearly how you will address the safety and health risks arising from employees turning up to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol. By developing your policy and procedures, and most importantly communicating the main points to all your employees, you will:

  • Help meet your general duty of care obligations
  • Provide clarity and certainty when situations arise. For example, what’s the process if someone refuses drug or alcohol testing, what are the consequences if someone provides a positive test, etc?
  • Demonstrate commitment to a safe and healthy workplace
  • Facilitate peer support

Consultation important too

The Guidance about alcohol and other drugs page also highlights that when developing your policy and procedures in your Western Australian workplace, consultation with your employees if vital to ensure success.

This is particularly the case if you decide to implement drug and alcohol testing. The page states that aspects such as the type of drug testing to be used (saliva drug testing or urine drug testing), whether random testing will be implemented, the procedures for testing and the consequences of failed tests should all be decided in consultation with your workers.


We all know about the dangers of alcohol and other drugs on Western Australia’s roads, but what about the danger in our workplaces, like the state’s port environments? Credit Jussarian https://www.flickr.com/photos/kerr_at_large/22472616391/

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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