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Alcohol and Drugs at Work

Updated: Dec 17, 2021

It is that time of year again, the social calendar is ramping up with NZ Cup Week about to

take off and Christmas party invitations going out. These social events make for a great

time (especially with the social calendar having been effected this year) but can also

be concerning if the partying lifestyle enters the workplace. No one likes to be the party

pooper, but we need to ensure everyone is safe and fit to work and will not become a

hazard to the team.

Everyone works hard and we know people want to party hard, however you do need

to remember that alcohol and drugs can remain in your system and into working hours

the following day. If this happens you can be putting yourself, your co-workers and the

public in danger, especially if you are on the roads driving or engaged in safety- critical


It is recommended that you limit your alcohol or drug intake if you know you will

be working the following day. It takes a standard alcohol beverage an average of

2 hours to be removed from your system.

If you are having several beverages ensure that you are giving your body plenty of

time to remove the alcohol and remember to re-hydrate before going to bed.

Drugs are a lot slower to be removed from your system. THC from Cannabis

can take 7-30 days to be fully removed from your body. Other drugs such as

Methamphetamine can stay in your system for 3-6 days, MDMA remains for 3-4

days and Codeine remains in your body for a day.

If you are taking prescription medication it is ideal to discuss the effects of them with your doctor. If the prescription could effect your ability at work let your supervisor know so they can adjust your work to suit.

When taking these substances you need to think about how it could effect your work

life and the work life of your work mates.

If you do wake up in the morning feeling a bit worse for wear or your reactions and

attention span are slower than normal it is important to let your supervisor know that

you are not fit for work. Alcohol can affect your sleep and increases the risk of fatigue.

The supervisor should consider your condition and either adjust your task or the

day to one that may be less hazardous, or if you are unable to be reallocated discuss

the possibility of having the day off.

It is important that you communicate with your supervisor and co-workers if you

are feeling unfit for work. They may be annoyed that you have come to work in a position where you cannot work to the best of your ability, however they will be happy that you

have communicated your position and have thought about the hazard and risk that you

could be bringing to the job and to them.

It is better that you communicate any uncertainty to perform, prior to work being

undertaken, rather than having an incident occur.

If you are in a role of driving in public it is especially important that you are vigilant

with your drug and alcohol consumption. If you have an accident in public and injure

or kill somebody the effect it can have on yourself, mentally and physically, can be

seriously damaging. The company reputation is likely to be impacted by negative


2020 Alcohol and Drugs at Work
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