3. Role of the workplace in protecting employees

In New Zealand, employers have legal obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 to ensure that workers and others are given the highest level of protection from workplace health and safety risks, so far as is reasonably practicable. This includes risks to both physical and mental health.

Employers can support employees by providing the following programmes [11]:

  • Support them to seek brief intervention;
  • Adopt workplace health and lifestyle checks;
  • Support psychosocial skills training;
  • Peer referral for problem drinking.

The Act also has responsibilities from employees to eliminate, isolate and minimise all significant hazards. Under the Act, a hazard includes behaviour that can cause harm to others. This could mean behaviours which occur under the influence of alcohol use.