Looking out for each other involves knowing what to do if a worker or workmate is experiencing alcohol- or drug-related issues. Acting early can prevent serious problems from developing and can positively impact workplace safety and productivity.
NCETA’s WorkLife resources and other materials provide tools to support workers, colleagues and mates.
Talking about alcohol and drugs in the workplace can be challenging but it can make a big difference to health and safety. When talking about these issues it’s important to use positive language.
The best workplace communication strategy is to have regular informal one-on-one natural conversations.
We encourage managers to have conversations with people when they see problems early.
Fatigue impairs work performance and safety. Using alcohol and drugs can cause or worsen fatigue. Help fatigued workers and mates by making sure they don’t drive, operate machinery or undertake high risk work activities.
Look at the practical changes your workplace can make to working conditions, rosters and workloads to support fatigued workers.
We all experience some form of stress in our day-to-day routines. Workers or mates can feel particularly stressed if they don’t have enough resources or support to meet workplace demands or maintain a healthy work / life balance. Using alcohol or drugs doesn’t reduce stress.
Talk to workers / mates about what’s causing them to feel stressed, help identify solutions and encourage them to get appropriate help.
Workplace stresses might exacerbate alcohol or drug misuse or abuse.
Working conditions and work / life challenges can cause people to experience mental health issues. Poor mental health is costly for Australian workplaces and businesses. Using alcohol and / or drugs can worsen existing mental health issues.
Look after workers and mates who might be experiencing poor mental health by identifying and reducing workplace risks. Regularly check in with them to see how they’re coping and if they need help.
Critical alcohol- and drug-related incidents occur when an intoxicated worker is agitated / violent or has overdosed. Dealing with critical incidents should be part of your workplace Alcohol and Drug Policy.
When responding to a critical incident always remember to follow the safety-first rule for you and others around you.
Getting a worker, colleague and / or mate to seek help for alcohol- and drug-related, mental health, stress or fatigue not only benefits them but also the workplace. Importantly helping a worker come back to work is likely to reduce recruitment / retraining costs and will assist the worker / your mate with their recovery.
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