Improving workplace safety and worker wellbeing by reducing AOD-related risk and harm

March 2018

Professor Ann Roche
Associate Professor Ken Pidd
Ms Jacquie Cameron
Ms Tania Steenson

Project description: 

AOD use has a negative impact on workplaces and may result in accidents, injuries, reduced productivity, abstenteesim, poor work relationships and worker wellbeing. While the exact figure is unknown, the available evidence, based on NCETA’s extensive work in this area, shows that approximately 6-11% of workplace accidents are associated with alcohol use.

NCETA’s work also highlights that, from an economic perspective, lost productivity attributable to alcohol alone costs more than $6 billion per annum to the Australian economy while alcohol and drug absenteeism costs $3 billion per annum.

Over the past 15 years, NCETA has worked with a range of individual employers, employer and employee organisations, government agencies and occupational health and safety authorities to assist them to develop effective and evidence-based responses to workplace AOD use.

NCETA has been recently funded by the South Australian Local Health Network (through Drug and Alcohol Services SA) to conduct a three year project to support effective interventions by employers to improve safety and worker wellbeing in South Australian workplaces and manage AOD-related risk of harm.

The project is focusing on workforce groups known to be at high-risk of alcohol and drug related harm including:

  • Tradespeople/blue collar workers
  • Males aged 20-35 years
  • Regional/rural workers
  • Workers employed in the construction, mining, hospitality and transport/wholesale industries.

In undertaking this project, NCETA is working with industry and employer/employee groups to co-develop evidence-based best practice guidelines that contain:

  • Practical information on how to identify and assess the risks associated with AOD use and how best to control those risks, including the need for workplace drug testing
  • Evidence-based workplace responses to address AOD-related harm
  • Information on employer / employee legislative responsibilities
  • A model alcohol and drug workplace policy
  • Online training modules.