Policies and procedures

Policy No.
Occupational Health And Safety
Authoring Organisational Unit
Chief Operating Office Portfolio
Date Approved
27/03/2009 Revised 08/04/2014
Next Review Date
Approving Body
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor And Registrar

The University of Western Australia

University Policy on: Alcohol and Other Drugs

Purpose of the policy and summary of issues it addresses:

This policy sets out the principles that guide the University's management of alcohol and other drugs by staff, students, contractors and visitors to the University. This includes the requirement to comply with Federal and State legislation as well as to the University's by-laws, statutes, regulations, rules and policies. The University expects all of its community members to be responsible citizens and appropriate behaviour is required when participating in University related activities including studying, teaching, conducting research and University related social functions.


For the purpose of this policy,

"University" is The University of Western Australia and for the purposes of this Policy includes the University Club, University Colleges and Guild as defined in the related Acts and By-Laws. It also includes off campus facilities such as sporting and recreational clubs.

"Drugs" are any substance that may result in physical, psychological or behavioural changes that may cause impaired performance, and include intoxicating products, licit medication (prescribed and non-prescribed) and illicit substances.

"Impairment" is the alteration of the normal physical or mental function, which results in diminished ability to perform tasks and activities in a safe manner.

"Supervisor" is a person who is assigned to provide guidance and direction for staff and students.

Policy statement:

1 The University's Commitment to a Safe, Healthy and Productive Workplace for All

The University is committed to the provision of a safe, healthy and productive environment with a strong focus on the prevention of harm from alcohol and other drugs.

The University recognises that an individual's consumption of alcohol or other drugs may impair that person's ability to perform safely or productively and may negatively impact on others.

The University does not condone binge drinking or the excessive consumption of alcohol or other drugs.

Persons impaired by alcohol or other drugs are not to drive or operate University vehicles, boats or machinery and are not to work anywhere where they may come to harm themselves or affect the safety of others (e.g. in laboratories, workshops or other inherently hazardous locations).

The University contributes to the provision of a healthy and safe workplace in relation to alcohol and other drugs as follows:

  • By adopting a responsible approach with regard to the service of alcohol in accordance with the Western Accord (See Related Information).
  • By promoting events management to protect personal safety and security.
  • By ensuring an inclusive environment for staff and students who choose not to consume alcohol.
  • By providing a range of education and confidential support services for staff and students with respect to the prevention and management of the negative effects of alcohol and other drugs.
  • By taking appropriate action if alcohol or drug use adversely affects the health, safety or wellbeing of an individual or group within the University or brings the University into disrepute.

2 Responsibilities of Staff, Students, Contractors and Visitors

Staff, students, contractors and visitors to the University have a responsibility to take all reasonable steps to ensure that their use of alcohol or other drugs does not impair their ability or that of others to perform safely and/or productively.

Staff and students' responsibilities include the following:

  • Promoting and supporting responsible drinking practices.
  • Avoiding unsafe drinking practices including binge drinking, drinking to intoxication and other high risk practices.
  • Ensuring that they do not attend the University if impaired through the use of alcohol or other drugs.
  • Advising their supervisor when taking prescribed or over the counter medications that may impact upon work performance.
  • Notifying the relevant supervisor if they perceive that the ability of a staff member or student to work or study is impaired by alcohol or other drugs (this is a legal requirement under work health and safety legislation).
  • Complying at all times with the Road Traffic Act WA 1974 and other legislation when in control of plant, equipment and vehicles.
  • Adhering to the Workplace-related social functions guidelines for functions held on or off University premises.
  • Notifying the organisers of planned events where they perceive that a person is impaired by alcohol or other drugs and is a danger to themselves or other persons.
  • Complying with conditions specified by the liquor permit issued for the function and upholding the reputation of the University whilst engaged in University related activities.

Supervisors' and Event Managers' additional responsibilities include the following:

  • Ensuring that staff, students, contractors, and others under their control are aware of their responsibilities.
  • Investigating observations or reports that persons under their control are impaired by alcohol and/or other drugs.
  • Taking appropriate action, including reporting to Human Resources (staff), reporting to the Registrar and Head of School (students), reporting to the Director, Campus Management (Contractors and Visitors) and to Student Services when gross and / or repeated breaches of this Policy occur.

Contractors' and Visitors' responsibilities whilst engaged in any University related activities include the following:

  • Ensuring that they are not impaired by alcohol or other drugs that might subject themselves or others to risk of injury, harm and/or productivity.
  • Conducting themselves in a manner consistent with the UWA Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct.

3 Consumption of Alcohol during Activities on University Sites

The use of alcohol and other drugs becomes a work health and safety issue if a person's ability to exercise judgement, coordination, motor control, concentration and alertness is affected at the workplace, leading to an increased risk of injury and illness to themselves and others. However other possible causes of impairment, such as fatigue and stress, should also be considered in any assessment.

If the behaviour of a member of staff, student, contractor or visitor relating to the use of alcohol or drugs is unlawful or is a breach of a University Statute, by-law, regulation, rule or policy, the provisions of the relevant instrument will reflect any action that may be taken as a consequence.

Supervisors and event organisers are required to identify and initially manage staff or students who are observed or reported to be impaired by alcohol and other drugs (refer to managing someone impaired by alcohol and/or other drugs).

4 Licensed Premises on University Lands

The operators of licensed premises of an ongoing nature such as the Guild Tavern and The University Club on University land are required to undertake a full risk assessment, provide training to staff in responsible serving of alcohol and have a system for tracking and reviewing any incidents related to the consumption of alcohol.

5 Occasional Alcohol Licences

The University administers the consumption of alcohol (liquor) on its sites under the terms of the Liquor Control Act 1988. The University also cooperates with the Liquor Licensing Division in issuing liquor permits and monitoring functions on University sites where alcohol is consumed.

In most cases an approved Event Management Plan is required (refer to Event Management Toolkit). Liquor permits are issued by Campus Management - Security.

6 Emergency Arising from the Use of Alcohol or other Drugs

Medical or other emergencies arising from use of alcohol or other drugs must be dealt with in accordance with the University's Emergency Procedures.

If a person is intoxicated or behaving in an unruly fashion as the result of consumption of alcohol or other drugs and is considered to pose a threat to people or property or a danger to themselves, contact the University's emergency number 6488 2222 for assistance.

7 Use of medications

If a staff member discloses the use of medication that may affect work performance, they are not required to disclose the illness for which the medication is being taken. Supervisors of staff are advised to contact Human Resources in this situation to discuss grounds for requesting a medical certificate. In the case of a student disclosing use of medication, their supervisor should discuss the matter with the Head of School.

8 Use of Illegal Drugs or Criminal Activity

Where the use of illegal drugs or criminal activity related to the use of alcohol or other drugs are identified, such matters will be referred to the Police by University Security.

9 Related information

Links to relevant legislation, University policies, guidance and other related external information are provided at

TRIM File No:


Contact position:

Director, Human Resources