D&A Fact Sheet 03 – What the Law Says

The NSW OHS Act 2000 requires employers to consult with their employees on all aspects of Occupational Health and Safety, this includes the risk identification, assessment and control process and the development of workplace policies and procedures. This duty to consult includes the development and implementation of a Drug and Alcohol Policy. Refer to information sheet 4 – What to include in a D&A Policy.

Occupational Health and Safety Act and OHS Regulation 2001

Employer’s Obligations

The Occupational Health and Safety Act and the OHS Regulation 2001 place a firm obligation on employers to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of all employees, contractors and visitors to the workplace.

Employers are also responsible for ensuring that risks to health and safety in the workplace are identified, assessed and eliminated or controlled, and that information, instruction, training, and supervision needed to ensure employees heath and safety in the workplace is provided.

The Act also places an obligation on individual employees to take reasonable care for the health, safety and welfare of others, and to cooperate with employers in their efforts to comply with occupational health and safety requirements, follow workplace policies and report all incidents to the employer.

Legislation

Reference to the following legislation may be useful in developing Alcohol and Other Drugs policies:

  • Anti-Discrimination Act, 1977
  • Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act, 1985
  • Industrial Relations Act, 1996, NSW
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 & Occupational Health and Safety Regulation 2000
  • Motor Traffic Act 1999
  • Workers Compensation Act 1987, NSW
  • Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998, NSW
  • Rail Safety Act
  • Responsible Service of Alcohol

The type of information required in the report will be decided in consultation between the provider and the organisation. Normally, the following information would be regarded as useful:

  • Referral rate;
  • Client profile (may include gender, age, education, work area, ethnic background, etc.);
  • Type of referral (self referral, manager referral, union referral);
  • Reasons for referral (personal, work-related, redundancy, etc.);
  • Ratio of personal to work problems;
  • Training/awareness programs;
  • Consultation with management or unions;
  • Results of client satisfaction survey;
  • Identification of organisational ‘hot spots’ in terms of stress, conflict, interpersonal problems, communication problems, work overload, role ambiguity, etc.; and
  • Recommendations – solutions to the issues identified.

While an organisation cannot have access to details of service provision such as the nature of the problem, apart from the group data provided by the employee assistance provider, it is possible and useful to survey the provider’s clients to ascertain their views of and satisfaction with the services provided. Such a survey may be conducted by asking the employee assistance counsellors to request that clients complete a confidential survey after their counselling session, to be returned directly to the organisation.

The survey would seek to identify:

  • General level of satisfaction with the services;
  • The degree of helpfulness of the counselling;
  • Whether performance or conduct improved;
  • The effect on morale, confidence, and personal life;
  • The usefulness of career planning assistance;
  • Whether employees would recommend the services to others; and
  • Other comments.

Organisations may also wish to conduct a random survey throughout the organisation to ascertain the level of knowledge and understanding of employee assistance services and whether employees would be likely to use the services if they experienced work-related or personal problems.


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D&A Fact Sheet 03 – What the Law Says

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