RSA – or more formally, the Responsible Service of Alcohol, is a term that refers to providing alcohol to members of the public in a safe and responsible way. It includes the concept of duty of care – ensuring that steps are taken to encourage drinking in a manner that protects and respects staff and other customers. The government’s goal in setting up the RSA training standard is to prevent alcohol abuse and negative drinking culture by promoting a healthy alternative.
If you’re working in Australia in any role involving the service of alcohol (including bar workers, catering staff, airline personnel, or waiters), you’re required to have formal RSA training. This is part of the federal government’s National alcohol strategy. Under this strategy, state and territory governments are implementing programs and legislation to minimise the negative effects of alcohol on minors and other vulnerable groups within our society. Mandatory training in RSA is just one piece of this larger picture.
The course – officially known as SITHFAB021 Provide responsible service of alcohol and is Nationally Recognised. The training can only be provided by a registered Australian RTO and is designed on a state-by-state basis – working with the specific alcohol regulations in force in each state or territory.
Regardless of the government regulations around it, the core principle of RSA is duty of care – the understanding that managers and staff are responsible for preventing reckless consumption of alcohol wherever possible and discouraging drunk and disorderly behaviour. As part of this, the course provides training on the effects of alcohol on the human body, exactly what a “Standard Drink” is (and why that’s important), and how to refuse alcohol service in a safe and respectful manner.