Managing the risks of drink and drug driving in the workplace

Alcohol and drug issues in the workplace, particularly on the road, are extremely dangerous. As well as the road safety risks, there can be legal and insurance consequences if a driver is involved in a crash and is found to have alcohol or drugs (including some prescription drugs) in their system.

We’ve worked closely with industry, health and safety experts, and the Alcohol and Drug Foundation to develop a toolkit to help businesses manage the risks of alcohol and other drugs (AOD) in the workplace. 

Your free toolkit includes:

  • An online policy builder – answer a few questions about your workplace and a tailored, comprehensive policy is generated
  • An employer’s guide – contains information to support businesses to successfully implement and manage the policy
  • Online education for employees to understand their obligations to the policy and the impacts of alcohol and other drugs in the workplace
  • Resources like fact sheets to identify and manage alcohol and drug problems in the workplace.

Why be concerned about alcohol and drugs and driving?

Research has demonstrated that drivers with alcohol and/or drugs in their system are more likely to be involved in a crash; whether they are the cause or because they are unable to take immediate action to prevent an incident caused by another person. Around one in five drivers killed had a blood alcohol concentration 0.05% or more (the legal limit for large vehicle drivers in Victoria is 0.0%) and 12% had drugs in their system.

Some Australians use alcohol and drugs as a way to socialise but some are also using it for other reasons, including to cope with stressful situations or to relieve pain. Over a 12 month period, the National Drug Strategy Household Survey (2016) found that:

  • 26% misused alcohol at least once a month
  • 13% consumed illegal drugs
  • 5% misused pharmaceutical drugs (excluding over-the-counter pharmaceuticals)

Bar graph showing misuse of alcohol and other drugs

The most obvious consequences of a crash are serious injury or death, but some of the other costs involved in a crash could also include:

  • Damage to your vehicle and any equipment in it;
  • Lost work time;
  • Replacement vehicle and equipment costs;
  • Administrative time in dealing with the crash;
  • Reputation of your business;
  • Possible increase in insurance claim;
  • Damaged/destroyed customer goods; and
  • Unsuccessful insurance claims due to alcohol and drugs being a factor in the crash.

Many people don’t realise they can still be under the influence after drinking the night before, how a hangover or medication can affect their work, or how long a drug can stay in their system. This lack of awareness can result in some drivers getting behind the wheel without understanding the risks.  

Responsibilities

Everybody in the workplace has a responsibility when it comes to health and safety. There are a range of factors that impact on an employee’s ability to work safely, including alcohol and drugs.

Research has demonstrated that an employee’s work can deteriorate when they are intoxicated, hungover, ‘coming down’ from drugs or taking medication– including through:

  • Slow reaction time;
  • Clumsiness;
  • Blurred vision;
  • Tiredness;
  • Bad judgement;
  • Memory loss; and
  • Mood changes leading to aggressive behaviour.