Fitness for Work Alcohol Policy

Recognition that alcohol use is as much a workplace issue as a community issue is the first step in creating meaningful and effective change through informed policy development and cultural shifts.

Why develop a Fitness for Work Alcohol Policy?

A fitness for work alcohol policy forms the foundation of an organisation's culture around alcohol and it's responses to alcohol-related harm in the workplace.1

Developing a fitness for work alcohol policy is part of a "whole of workplace" health and safety approach to the prevention and management of alcohol-related harm in or related to the workplace.2

A policy provides workplaces with an opportunity to:

A fitness for work alcohol policy outlines an organisation's position on alcohol1 and a set of guidelines and supporting procedures for employers and employees to prevent and manage alcohol-related harm and issues.

A policy also:

  • provides a framework for managing "fitness for work" situations when they arise;
  • provides a framework for implementing responses consistent with occupational health and safety legislation and other legislation and specific industry legislation relevant to alcohol3;
  • assists employer's to provide a general "duty of care" and a safe workplace that is free from hazards if injury or harm is suffered as a result of alcohol3; and
  • demonstrates management support and commitment to a safe workplace culture around alcohol.

Central to the success of an effective response to preventing and reducing alcohol-related harm and issues in or related to the workplace is the design, implementation, management and evaluation of a fitness for work alcohol policy.

Whether your workplace has identified a potential alcohol-related risk, has existing procedures and practices but no formalised policy or has an existing policy that requires improving or updating, considerations at each phase of the policy cycle should be addressed to effectively meet your workplace needs.

The How to develop an alcohol policy: guide for workplaces is a step-by-step best practice and interactive guide to addressing your workplace needs and effectively responding to alcohol-related harm and issues in the workplace. It is provided to support workplaces to develop a workplace alcohol policy.

The guide can also be used by workplaces wanting to develop a fitness for work alcohol and other drugs policy.


Pidd, K. and Roche, A.(2013). Policy Talk. Workplace alcohol and other drug programs: What is good practice? Australian Drug Foundation.


National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction.(2006). Responding to Alcohol and Other Drug Related Issues in the Workplace: An Information and Resource Package. NCETA, Adelaide, South Australia.


Commission for Occupational Health and Safety. (2008). Guidance Note Alcohol and Other drugs at the Workplace. MIAC.

Page last updated: 20 July 2020

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