The understanding of your role in OHS law

Alcohol and other drug use is a major contributing factor in workplace accidents.

The use of alcohol and other drugs becomes an occupational health and safety 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.

All workplaces in Australia are subject to Occupational Health and Safety Laws. All persons who enter a workplace have rights and responsibilities. In some states these are called obligations.

This means that you may have multiple responsibilities or obligations depending on your role in the workplace or your purpose for being there. You may be an employee, and a supervisor or manager, at the same time. In that case you would have obligations in each of these capacities.

Even volunteers and visitors entering a worksite have responsibilities or obligations.

Your individual role in complying with Occupational Health and Safety laws is contained within various state Workplace Health and Safety Acts. There are severe penalties in place for failing to meet your obligations and responsibilities.

Obligations to self and others

As an individual entering a workplace, you have specific workplace health and safety responsibilities to yourself and to others.

You must:

  • comply with instructions given for workplace health and safety
  • use personal protective equipment if the employer provides it and if you are properly instructed in its use
  • not wilfully or recklessly interfere with or misuse anything provided for workplace health and safety at the workplace
  • not wilfully place others at risk
  • not wilfully injure yourself