Alcohol and drug use at work – Top Tips

Alcohol and drug use at work can be hazardous.  At the Policy Place we address alcohol and drug use with policy and procedure aimed at preventing and mitigating the risks.
Our alcohol and drug policy is part of our health and safety policy suite. As part of our online policy service it links easily to relevant HR policies concerned with disciplinary actions.  This is important because alcohol and drug use can be dealt with under the umbrella of bread and butter HR of performance issues.
The Alcohol and Drug Foundation has some great tips on effective alcohol and drug policies.
Here’s some more from us.

1. Prevention

Policy requirements with a focus on preventing risks associated with alcohol and drug use can include the following:


Management ensures staff are informed about the risks of consuming alcohol and drugs.

Even with out-of-hours consumption there are risks. Hangover, for example, can mean poor concentration, carelessness on the job, fatigue, risky behaviour leading to injuries and fatalities. A staff member/kaimahi who is known to drink excessively or consume drugs at or outside of work also risks the reputation, credibility and trust the community has in the organisation.

Encourage self-management

Provision for:

  • staff to self-manage for the effects of their alcohol and drug use on their work
  • all staff to be alert to the risks posed by themselves and their colleagues from alcohol and drug use
  • voluntary disclosure to management by staff if they are concerned about their alcohol and drug use and its effect on their ability to work safely.

2. Respect rights

Respect human rights, including the rights to dignity and to not be subjected to search and seizure.
An alcohol and drug policy does not have to provide for alcohol and drug testing. Remember that testing is invasive. If you’re going to provide for testing in a policy then put clear limits around it.
Generally, in law, there have to be good grounds for search and seizure.  The workplace should be no different. There should be good grounds for testing (eg person can’t focus; a car accident) and testing may only be done with a person’s consent.

3. Rehabilitation

Even if it is decided that an employee should be summarily dismissed, an alcohol and drug policy should encourage a supportive approach to staff.
Staff should be given relevant information and encouraged to access the support they need (eg Whare Tukutuku). Strategies such as time off for recovery,  counselling, flexible working, check-ins, and monitoring performance might be considered and agreed to help staff with rehabilitation.

Contact us

Contact the Policy Place 0224066554