Safety, Health and Injury Management and Wellbeing

Alcohol and other drugs

Our role is to develop and assist in the implementation of the UWA safety, health and wellbeing programs in order to minimise the risk of injury, illness and property damage.

We provide consultancy and other services to promote best practice and legislative compliance in all University and related activities.

Contact Security

On campus:
6488 2222
External call:
(+61) 8 6488 2222
From public phone:
1800 655 222
General security number:
6488 3020

Further information

UWA Policy on Alcohol and Other Drugs

Emergency Procedures

Want feedback on your drinking

Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS)
24 hour confidential telephone service with information, counselling, referral and advice to anyone concerned about their own or another's aclohol or other drug use.

North Metro Community Drug Service Team
Support for individuals, families and communities.

Drug and Alcohol Office
Government agency addressing drug and alcohol issues in the community.

National Guidelines for Alcohol Consumption 

The University of Western Australia has a general 'duty of care' obligation to ensure that, as far as practicable, workers are not exposed to hazards and risks that could arise from impairment by alcohol and/or other drugs. Such instances must be addressed through a systematic risk management process. The use of alcohol and other drugs becomes an occupational safety and health issue if a person’s ability to exercise judgment, coordination, motor control, concentration and alertness is affected at the workplace, leading to an increased risk of injury or illness. The consumption of alcohol and illicit drugs while at work is therefore unacceptable, except in relation to authorised and responsible use of alcohol at workplace social functions. Legislation requires that workers must take reasonable care of their own health and safety and not endanger the health and safety of others at the workplace. It is therefore important that upon presenting themselves for work, they are capable of performing their work duties safely.

  1. Identification of persons impaired by alcohol or other drugs
  2. Managing someone impaired by alcohol and/or other drugs
  3. When the affected person returns to the workplace
  4. Education and Support Services for Staff and Students
  5. Related UWA information
  6. Related legislation and external references

Identification of persons impaired by alcohol or other drugs

The following indicators may be observed in an intoxicated person:

  • Smell of alcohol on breath
  • Delayed reaction time
  • Impaired coordination/balance
  • Impaired memory
  • Reduced ability to concentrate
  • Reduced ability to communicate
  • Behaviour that is out of character
  • Reduced interpersonal skills

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Managing someone impaired by alcohol and/or other drugs

Remaining firm, brief and calm, the following approach may help. Using the affected person's name, "It appears you are not managing (at work / with your studies) today and I am instructing you to stop for the day. Arrangements will be made for you to go home.”

  • Do not argue or debate but simply repeat your message if necessary.
  • Make suitable arrangements to ensure the impaired person can get home safely e.g. contacting next of kin or a taxi service. Cab charges may be used with the expectation of reimbursement back to the University.
  • Try to persuade them not to drive a vehicle.
  • Avoid using terms such as ’You’re drunk’.
  • Call Campus Management - Security Officers for assistance (6488 3020) if a person refuses to cooperate with these instructions.

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When the affected person returns to the workplace

In a private meeting, discuss the behaviours exhibited by the person when they were intoxicated. Refer to the Procedures for Managing Unsatisfactory Performance and Workplace Behaviour or the Academic Staff Agreement. In the case of a student, refer to the Regulations for Student Conduct and Discipline.

  • Provide information regarding access to the University Medical Centre, University Counselling and Psychological Services, the Employee Assistance program (EAP, for staff only) or the person’s own GP for support services and management assistance.
  • Staff and students should understand that incidents of substance abuse may be subject to the misconduct provisions under the relevant employment agreement, or student disciplinary statute. A copy of the University Policy on Alcohol and Other Drugs should be provided, including discussion of the possible consequences of further breaches.
  • Document and keep records of incidents, meetings and advice given.
  • For further assistance contact Employee Relations and Management Services in the case of a staff member or in the case of a student, their student supervisor or Head of School.

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Education and Support Services for Staff and Students

The University undertakes a range of strategies:

The University Medical Centre provides health and education programs, and counselling services for staff and students via the Health Promotion Unit and the University Counselling and Psychological Service relating to Alcohol and Other Drugs. There is also an on-campus UWA Drug and Alcohol Counsellor available by appointment.

The Tertiary Alcohol Project provides a confidential, specialist alcohol and other drugs counselling service for staff and students. It is designed to provide practical information to students regarding alcohol consumption and social norms. Information is provided on the short and long term effects of alcohol on health, the implications of alcohol on sexual health, study, driving, safety and drowning. Information is also provided on ways to reduce alcohol related harm and to promote responsible drinking.

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides confidential health and counselling services for staff.

The Check-Up-to-Go (e-CHUG) online drink check resource is a confidential, anonymous assessment tool designed to gauge whether someone is drinking alcohol at harmful levels. The assessment will provides personalised feedback on alcohol consumption.

The THC Online Knowledge Experience (e-TOKE) services encourage valuable personalised feedback on alcohol and cannabis consumption and the consequences related to their consumption.

The UWA Local Drug Action Group is a forum for staff and students to raise issues in relation to alcohol and other drugs.

Provision of information for managers/supervisors, students and employees who will be organising or attending workplace-related social functions

The Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol are a useful resource for the promotion of a moderate approach to drinking.

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Related UWA information

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Related legislation and external references

The Western Accord - This agreed code of practice commenced in October 1997. It involves all local licensed premises operators, the Western Australian Police Service, the Towns of Cambridge, Claremont, Cottesloe, and Vincent, the City of Nedlands, the Shire of Peppermint Grove, the Health Department of Western Australia, Liquor Licensing Division representatives, other relevant agencies and the community. Copies of the Western Accord are available on request from Campus Management - Security.

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