Alcohol and Other Drugs

Overview

Alcohol is found in beer, wine and spirits and is one of the most common drugs used in New Zealand. Water only workplaceThe consumption of alcohol carries risks of physical and social harm due to its intoxicating, toxic and dependence-producing properties. ‘Other Drugs’ refers to the use of substances other than alcohol that may cause impairment to the user; this could also include the misuse of prescription drugs.

To find out why minimising use of alcohol and other drugs is important in your workplace click here.

Incorporating Alcohol and Other Drugs into your Action and Evaluation plan

Your efforts to support employees to reduce alcohol and drug use and create a safe working environment should consider a multi-level approach to ensure it is effective and sustainable.  A multi-level approach involves considering what is available at each of the following levels:

  • Organisational (Policies and procedures)
  • Environmental (Infrastructure and facilities)
  • Individual (Opportunities, information and training)

See the following sections for examples of how to address alcohol and other drugs at each of these levels.

Organisational Change

Organisational change ensures the workplace’s policies, practices and culture support responsible use of alcohol and reduction in misuse of other drugs.  Examples of what you can do in your workplace include:

Develop an alcohol and other drug policy or include in standard Workplace Health and Wellbeing policy, include:

  • Focus on wellbeing as well as safety
  • Clear guidance on when it is and isn’t appropriate to drink alcohol in relation to work
  • Workplaces view on alcohol and other drug use in employee contracts
  • Support available to employees who may require assistance relating to alcohol and drug use
  • Guidelines and procedures for disciplining employees who breach the policy
  • Consider Workplace Host Responsibility around responsible alcohol use at work functions
  • Consultation with the council when hosting an event or work gathering where alcohol is provided to determine if a Special Licence to serve alcohol is required
Create guidelines for workplace Host Responsibility around responsible alcohol use at work functions.

Provide training for managers in identifying and managing individuals at risk of alcohol and other drug use in a confidential and professional manner

Management lead by example by taking a responsible approach to alcohol and drug use

Review the level of access to, and consumption of, alcohol at work and after-work gatherings

Promote alcohol free events and activities

Review employment practices and working conditions that may impact on employee stress (e.g. working hours, flexible working, job design, workload, resources)

Environmental Change

Creating a healthy working environment can encourage responsible use of alcohol and other drugs. Examples of what you can do in your workplace include:

Encourage alcohol free events and activities

If alcohol is provided at workplace social events, host responsibly by:

  • Providing food
  • Limiting amount of free or discounted alcohol per person
  • Offer low-alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages
  • Provide water
  • Ensure staff have safe transportation home

Read the HPA guidelines Serving Alcohol SAFELY at Workplace Events

Offer opportunities and support for staff who wish to discuss concerns relating to alcohol and other drugs confidentially with their manager                          

If appropriate, consider drug and alcohol testing

Address any workplace factors that may influence staff drinking such as workplace stress or bullying                

Individual Change

Individual change focuses on opportunities for knowledge and skill development to support responsible alcohol and drug use.  Examples of what you can do in your workplace include:

Provide opportunities for knowledge and skill development around responsible alcohol and drug use, such as information sessions and resources. Content could include:

  • The workplace alcohol and other drug policy
  • Low-risk alcohol drinking advice
  • Alcohol-related harm in the workplace
  • Alcohol's impact on the body
  • Alcohol and pregnancy
  • Support services available

Participate in national educational and awareness campaigns, such as Dry July, a campaign that encourages individuals to be alcohol free in July.

Provide access to and encourage staff to check out Health Promotion Agency’s interactive resources. These online tools could be used as part of a focus or education sessions on alcohol related topics:

Offer support to staff such as Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP), Private counselling services and Community-based services

For staff that are parents, equip them with information about parenting and the impact of alcohol on teenagers. The Health Promotion Agency has some helpful information that is a good starting point.

Up-skill managers, supervisors, occupational health and safety staff to be able to:

  • Identify and address workplace alcohol and other drug use in a way that is consistent and fair
  • Understand the legislation, such as employee/manager rights and penalties, relating to alcohol and other drug use in the workplace

Provide information about the consequences for failing to comply with organisational alcohol and other drug use policy or procedures

Educate employees about the workplace factors that can lead to increased alcohol and drug use and provide a clear communication process to report any concerns

 

Community Links and Partnerships

 To access a variety of useful services and resources relating to Alcohol and Other Drugs see our Community Links page.

         

Page updated 13 Feb 2018