Introduction

Australia occupies a high place in international rankings of highest alcohol consumption, so the issue of intoxication in the workplace is particularly pertinent. Consuming alcohol faster than the body can metabolise results in alcohol intoxication, which causes progressive impairments to coordination and decision-making. Symptoms can include confusion, blurred vision, slower reflexes, nausea, and memory loss, all leading to a loss of productivity and greater risk of accidents, to themselves, other workers, the public, and property.

Many industries have restrictions on the blood alcohol content (BAC) of their employees. For workers operating machinery or driving heavy vehicles, they must have a BAC of zero. Some workplaces implement alcohol testing as a protocol, engaging in pre-employment screening or random tests. In the USA, synthetic opioid such as a fentanyl can also contribute to workplace accidents, high staff turnover, low morale, and theft.

When workplace accidents occur, employers potentially face legal liability. Especially if the accident occurred because of failure on the part of the employer to maintain a safe working environment. Without drug testing at work, there is no way for an employer to positively identify workers who pose a risk to everyone in the workplace with their drug use or abuse.

A workplace drug testing program therefore partly represents an employer’s effort to keep the environment at work safe for everyone. Drug testing in the workplace can help minimise workplace accidents, which in turn reduces the potential legal liability of employers themselves.

There is evidence that suggests that employers who implement a comprehensive workplace policy on illicit drug and alcohol use as part of general management practices are the most effective method for achieving enhanced safety and productivity, and lower absenteeism and turnover rates.

At the bottom of this profile are brief details of a number of the experts that Expert Experts represents. Call our office to discuss your requirements and to obtain an expert submission that suits your needs and budget.

Expertise in Action

Expert witnesses in cases with blood alcohol as a factor are frequently faced with questions involving estimation of BAC from given ingestion, or ingestion required to reach measured BAC. Consulting experts can use retrograde extrapolation techniques to obtain a BAC some time after the event, and can also conduct post-mortem forensic evaluations with regards to BAC. The opinions they provide can be useful to plaintiffs and defendants alike.

Experts may assist employers in implement drug and alcohol policies, balancing issues such as the right to privacy with workplace safety, particularly when members of the public are at risk.

Sample Reports

For some fields of expertise we have some sample sections of de-identified reports. Please contact our office if you are interested in a sample.

Cost

The overall cost of expert opinion depends on the services required. Some of the key factors that affect the cost of advice include:

  • The need for a view or inspection of a location
  • The quantity of documentary material to be reviewed
  • Whether there are reports of other experts to be reviewed and commented on in detail
  • Whether there is a need for conferences with the expert either in person or by telephone/Skype
Relevant Articles Work-related Alcohol and Drug use – A Fit for Work issue

Workplace policies may help change the norms and culture around illicit drug and alcohol use, and may also assist is changing family and community attitudes. Workplace prevention programs may complement existing public health programs to help address substance use before people become dependent and need more specialised intensive interventions

Guidance Note – Alcohol and other Drugs at the workplace

Alcohol and other drugs usage becomes an occupational safety and health issue if a worker's ability to exercise judgment, coordination, motor control, concentration and alertness at the workplace is impaired, leading to increased risk of injury or incidents to themselves or others.

Relevant Cases R v Srsa [2021] NSWSC 924 (30 July 2021)

A matter which required assessment of how an offender's alcohol disorder contributed toward his offences.

Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union-Construction and General Division v Port Kembla Coal Terminal Limited [2015] FWC 2384

The issue of voluntary versus compulsory oral and urine sampling for a new workplace drug testing regime was contested between the CFMEU and an employer.

Related Blog Articles

A sample of our experts in Work health safety - Alcohol / drugs

Below are short profiles of a sample of some of the experts with expertise in this field. Not all of the experts we work with appear on our website and finding new experts for unusual or hard to find fields is our specialty.

Please contact our office to discuss your specific requirements and to obtain an expert submission that suits your needs and budget. Expert Experts are experts in finding the right expert for your needs.

Contact us at answers@expertexperts.com.au or give us a call 1300 72 66 55

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