Alcohol guidelines implemented across WA mining sites

Wednesday, 01 June, 2022

Alcohol guidelines implemented across WA mining sites

The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA (CME) and its member companies have introduced industry-wide guidance for the consumption of alcohol at onsite accommodation facilities. The Safe and Respectful Behaviours – Industry Alcohol Guideline sets out a series of management and education requirements that outline how alcohol consumption is to be treated at accommodation facilities. This builds on drug and alcohol policies already implemented across industry workplaces, providing further consideration towards work-adjacent environments.

CME Director of Policy and Advocacy Rob Carruthers said the guideline reflected the WA mining and resources sector’s longstanding commitment to best practice for both physical and psychological safety in the workforce. Carruthers said that while several CME member companies have implemented their own alcohol limits over the past couple of years, it is important to implement industry-wide guidance that can be used at any operation, driving healthy behaviours that encourage a culture of moderation.

“This guideline represents a significant milestone in our sector’s work to be as safe as possible at all times,” said Carruthers. “Crucially, the guideline takes into account not only the experience of CME member companies’ work around alcohol, but also input from independent drug and alcohol experts 360Edge. With their expertise across a range of sectors, 360Edge were able to provide invaluable advice on what best practice in alcohol consumption should look like for WA mining and resources operations.

“Events over the past 18 months, including the ongoing parliamentary inquiry into sexual harassment against women in the FIFO mining industry, have strengthened our resolve to provide safe and inclusive workspaces for all of the sector’s 156,000-plus employees. This industry guideline is another step in a process that revolves around continual improvement.”

Formulation of the Industry Alcohol Guideline is a key focus for CME’s Safe and Respectful Behaviours Working Group. The guideline includes implementation of a four-drink limit for all accommodation residents over a 24-hour period, including takeaway limitations, along with the prohibition of alcohol served in a form that encourages rapid consumption — such as shots or double servings. The guideline calls for the availability of varied drink-strength operations served at accommodation facilities — for example, low- and medium-strength beers. It also calls for the availability of non-alcoholic drink options, for example 0% beer, carbonated drinks and freely available water, along with food options — such as snacks or hot food — wherever alcohol is served.

The Industry Alcohol Guideline calls for the promotion of a culture of moderation and healthy dietary choices, alongside education for residents on the alcohol policy that applies in accommodation facilities. The guideline also includes the implementation of education material that informs residents in accommodation facilities about the harmful effects of alcohol consumption.

Carruthers said CME will work with member companies over the coming months on the rollout of the Industry Alcohol Guideline, noting that while it will take a period of time for the guideline to achieve broad-scale implementation, it still demonstrates a clear industry-wide commitment to raise standards.

“Some CME member companies have already led the way by adopting the elements of the guideline, and those that can practically implement it immediately will do so of course. CME has more than 75 member operating companies running operations of all shapes and sizes around WA and some of them may not be in a logistical position to practically implement the guideline straight away. We’re also very happy for the guideline to be available for operations that don’t fall under the CME banner,” said Carruthers.

The guideline strives to help the WA mining and resources sector achieve positive safety and inclusion objectives, with CME to share the guideline and the research behind it with other advocacy groups in the sector.

Image credit: © Access

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