Policy

Alcohol and Other Drugs - Policy

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1.0                Purpose and Scope

The University of Queensland (UQ or the University) is committed to fostering a safe, respectful and supportive environment, and preventing and reducing harm caused by the unlawful and irresponsible use of alcohol and other drugs while undertaking UQ related activity.

This policy applies to all members of the UQ community while undertaking UQ related activity.  

2.0                Principles and Key Requirements

Unlawful, inappropriate and irresponsible use of alcohol and other drugs can impair judgment, performance, health, relationships and safety. It can also result in injury or harm to individuals, damage to property and equipment, and adversely affect the rights, comfort and enjoyment of others. 

The use of alcohol and other drugs at UQ is guided by the following principles and requirements:

  1. UQ is committed to preventing and reducing alcohol and drug-related harm and damage to its people, to its property and facilities and to its reputation.
  2. Members of the UQ community must not be impaired by alcohol or other drugs while undertaking UQ related activity.
  3. UQ permits and is committed to the responsible sale and consumption of alcohol and the lawful and responsible use of legal drugs, insofar as it is undertaken in compliance with appropriate legislation and considerate of relevant cultural conventions. Alcohol at UQ events must also be managed in accordance with the Event Approval and Control Procedure.
  4. When undertaking a UQ related activity, members of the UQ community are required to behave in accordance with the expected standards of conduct as set out in:
    1. For UQ staff – the Code of Conduct;
    2. For UQ students – the Student Charter and Student Integrity and Misconduct Policy;
    3. For all other members of the UQ community, Part 3 of Schedule 1 of the University of Queensland Act 1998.
  5. UQ considers a number of activities to be of higher risk from a safety perspective. Members of the UQ community who undertake higher risk activities, as defined in section 6.1, must:
    1. have zero blood alcohol concentration; and
    2. notify their supervisor (or appropriate UQ personnel) if they are using a drug that may impair their ability to carry out the activity safely or could impair their ability if they do not take prescribed medication.  
  6. Support is available to all members of the UQ community who wish to address their use of alcohol or other drugs, or experience adverse impacts through the use of alcohol or other drugs (see section 6.2).

3.0                Roles, Responsibilities and Accountabilities

3.1                 Heads of Organisational Units

Heads of Organisational Units are responsible for:

  • Ensuring staff members of their respective Organisational Unit are aware of this policy.
  • Ensuring the activities of their respective Organisational Unit are conducted in accordance with this policy.
  • Identifying and addressing work performance issues that may be associated with alcohol or drug use.
  • Addressing identified risks to the wellbeing or welfare of any member of the UQ community, or damage to UQ property due to the misuse of alcohol or drug use.
  • Reporting any incidents which may contravene this policy through the appropriate channels as referred to in documents noted under Principles and Key Requirements (2.0 (4)).

3.2                 Supervisors

Supervisors and staff supervising students are responsible for:

  • Addressing identified risks to the wellbeing or welfare of any member of the UQ community, or damage to UQ property due to the misuse of alcohol or drug use.
  • Identifying and addressing work performance issues and/or academic performance issues that may be associated with alcohol or drug use.
  • Reporting any incidents which may contravene this policy through the appropriate channels as referred to in documents noted under Principles and Key Requirements (2.0 (4)).
  • If a supervisor considers that someone is adversely affected by alcohol or other drugs, to the extent that they are a risk to themselves or others, the supervisor will direct them to cease work or academic activities immediately and provide details with respect to support options.

3.3                 Staff and Students

Staff and students who are impaired by alcohol or drugs must ensure they do not attend work or academic activities at UQ, nor represent UQ with respect to work or academic activities.

Staff and students are responsible for:

  • Reporting any incidents which may contravene this policy through the appropriate channels as referred to in documents noted under Principles and Key Requirements (2.0 (4)).
  • Seeking assistance if support is required in dealing with an alcohol or drug problem.

3.4                 Contractors

Contractors who are impaired by alcohol or drugs must not attend any UQ premises. Contractors are responsible for reporting any incidents which may contravene this policy to the relevant Contractor Manager.

Contractor Managers are responsible for ensuring contractors are aware of and provided with a copy of this policy.  

4.0                Monitoring, Review and Assurance

The Director, Health, Safety and Wellness Division has overall responsibility for the monitoring and review of this Policy and providing assurance on its effectiveness.

The Office of the Chief Operating Officer through Human Resources Division and Property and Facilities Division (Security) will monitor to ensure adherence with this policy by staff and others.

The Academic Registrar will monitor to ensure adherence with this policy by students.

5.0                Recording and Reporting

The Director, Health, Safety and Wellness (with necessary support from the Academic Registrar, and the Office of the Chief Operating Officer, through Human Resources Services, and Property and Facilities Division) will produce reports for the Vice-Chancellor and the Vice Chancellor’s Risk and Compliance Committee regarding risks and issues associated with alcohol and other drugs, and overall compliance with this policy.

6.0                Appendix

6.1                 Definitions

Term

Definition

drugs

Includes the following:

  1. medically prescribed drugs which are drugs prescribed by a duly licensed medical practitioner and issued by a duly qualified pharmacist which may impair the ability to work competently and professionally; or
  2. over-the-counter drugs, which are drugs that can be legally purchased without a  prescription which may impair the ability to work competently and professionally; or
  3. prohibited substances.

higher risk activities

Higher risk activities include, but are not limited to:   

  1. handling hazardous chemicals or other dangerous goods, or genetically modified organisms;
  2. operating vehicles and machines (including lawn mowers, forklifts, quad bikes, tractors, registerable plant etc.), vessels or controlling heavy plant and equipment;
  3. undertaking any work requiring a license from a regulatory authority (e.g. electrical work, plumbing, construction work);
  4. undertaking diving or snorkelling work;
  5. working at heights or in confined spaces; 
  6. working with power tools or working with sharp tools or instruments;
  7. providing first aid;
  8. handling or working with heated substances or substances that produce flames, heat and/or sparks; or
  9. any other activity which has been determined –
    1. to be extreme or high risk by the author of a University risk assessment;
    2. by the Health, Safety and Wellness Division of the University; or
    3. by the Head of an Organisational Unit.

impaired

Adversely affected by alcohol or other drugs.  As a general guide, a person is considered to be impaired by alcohol or other drugs if there is an observed deterioration of a person’s judgement and/or decrease in their physical ability.  Whilst a person can be impaired at Blood Alcohol Content levels below 0.05, a level at or above 0.05 is considered impaired.  A person is considered to be impaired by alcohol when their level of consumption is likely to be at or over the legal blood alcohol level for driving (i.e. 0.05 Blood Alcohol Content).

prohibited substances

Those substances which are set out in Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 of the Drugs Misuse Regulation 1987 promulgated under the Drugs Misuse Act 1986 of Queensland and includes such drugs as cannabis (marijuana), amphetamines (speed and “ice”), ecstasy, cocaine, heroin and any new psycho-active substances known as synthetic drugs, or similar.

UQ community

Current UQ students, staff, other workers, volunteers, official visitors, recognised individuals, honorary position holders, adjunct academic and support position holders, and anyone else contractually bound to comply with this policy.

UQ premises

Any property, owned or controlled by the University or a University controlled entity, or premises on which a University or a University Controlled Entity sponsored or organised event is being held.

UQ related activity

All UQ related activities undertaken by members of the UQ community on UQ premises and all external activities directly related to or managed by UQ.

6.2                 Support

The University acknowledges that some staff and students will experience problems as a result of their own or others’ alcohol and drug use. Supervisors are expected to be aware:

  • that work and study impairment is commonly associated with the misuse of alcohol and drugs; and
  • of the sensitivities and mechanisms for supporting those affected. 

While alcohol and drug related problems cannot be accepted as an excuse for poor performance, unsafe work practices or inappropriate behaviour, the University will seek to help those who seek support for in a caring, confidential and constructive manner. 

Seeking confidential assistance from the various University services, alcohol and drug treatment agencies, other health professionals or chaplains, or being referred to them will not result, by itself, in disciplinary action nor will it affect the personal or professional situation of the individual in the University setting.

Counsellors and others assisting individuals with a drug and/or alcohol problem will respect the privacy and confidentiality of those who seek help unless the health and safety of the individual and others is potentially at risk.

  1. Staff can access free, confidential support from or be referred to the Employee Assistance Program (see https://staff.uq.edu.au/eap) or seek support from community health facilities and alcohol and drug treatment services.  
  2. Students can access free, confidential support from or be referred to, a range of student support options, including Student Counselling Services, UQ Health Care, Student Services, Chaplaincy Services, among others, or seek support from community health facilities and alcohol and drug treatment services.

Relevant legislation

Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld)

Liquor Act 1992 (Qld)

Drugs Misuse Act 1986 (Qld)

Drugs Misuse Regulation 1987 (Qld)

University of Queensland Act 1998 (Qld)

Custodians
Director, Health, Safety and Wellness Mr Jim Carmichael
Custodians
Director, Health, Safety and Wellness Mr Jim Carmichael