Alcohol and drugs in the workplace

The University is committed to the safe management of alcohol and drugs within the workplace.  We manage this by providing guidelines to University workers, students and visitors on how alcohol and drugs can impair safe and competent performance of work.

Alcohol and Drugs in the Workplace FAQ

  1. Can I take Panadol, aspirin etc whilst at work?
    Yes. Medically prescribed drugs, including over the counter drugs, are able to be taken so long as it is within the doctor's or manufacturer's guidelines and not abused.

  2. Can I have an alcoholic beverage at lunch time? If so, how many?
    The best way to address this is to take a risk management approach to the duties that you will be undertaking when you return to work. For example, if you were resuming work in a low-risk environment such as sitting at an office desk, then it would be reasonable for you to consume one standard alcoholic beverage during lunchtime, following "Responsible Service of Alcohol" guidelines. However, if you were returning to work, post lunch and planning to undertake medium-high risk activities such as using equipment.machinery, working in a laboratory or workshop, or carrying out a nominated first aid officer role, you would not be permitted to consume any alcohol. If in doubt, talk with your supervisor.

  3. What does "Zero Tolerance" mean?
    The term "Zero Tolerance" means that those people undertaking medium-high risk activities are not permitted to consume any alcohol whilst working.

  4. I'm on medication and it makes me drowsy, what do I need to do?
    Step 1: Visit your doctor and outline your usual work duties. The doctor can advise on the suitability of taking the medically prescribed drug(s) and carrying out your tasks in a safe manner. Your doctor should document any work restriction on a medical certificate for you to raise with your supervisor.
    Step 2: Consult with your supervisor on the medication you are taking, and advice received from your doctor. Your supervisor will then conduct a risk assessment on your tasks to ensure the safety of yourself and others.

For further information contact the WHS Unit on extension 213931 or

Need help?

Employees and their immediate families can contact TELUS Health, our EAP (Employee Assistance Program), on (02) 4221 3445 for free, confidential support. You can access a self-guided questionnaire that may alert you to any problems on the UOW Alcohol Policy FAQ page, and access more support on the DrinkWise website.