Many businesses around Australia are decreasing their health and safety risks by implementing management programs that aim to reduce the impact of drugs and alcohol in their workplaces. But a safe workplace is not just an employer’s responsibility. Ultimately, every employee has a responsibility to contribute to a safe workplace – and that includes not coming to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
So, if you are an employee, what are you risking by coming to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol? It might be more than you think:
- First and foremost, you’re risking your own life. Repeated studies have shown that people who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol are more prone to accidents. This is particularly the case if your work involves manual labour, working around vehicles or machinery, driving vehicles or any other work that requires you to be alert and have full concentration.
- Of course it’s not just yourself that you’re putting at risk of injury or death. You’re also risking the life of your co-workers.
- Coming to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol is also putting your job at risk. With more and more businesses implementing workplace drug and alcohol testing, if you come to work after drinking or taking drugs eventually you will get caught and the consequences may be severe.
- Employees also have a legal obligation to work safely, under the OHS Act’s duty of care provisions. The Act imposes a duty of care on all workers not to recklessly endanger other people within a workplace.
- It’s not just your safety that’s at risk, but also your health. This is particularly the case if your job is physically demanding. The health risks aren’t just evident when you’re high or drunk. Coming down from drugs or alcohol can also be dangerous in some work conditions and can put you at increased risk of health complications such as dehydration and heat stress.
- Coming to work under the influence may also risk your state of mind. Imagine how you would feel if you weren’t under the influence and were responsible for a serious injury of a work mate, or even death? The emotional stress would be barely tolerable for most people, let alone someone who was under the influence of drugs or alcohol and knew that their actions were to blame.
So what are you risking by coming to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol? A lot! Consider the risks and plan ahead.