What is RSA?

RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol) means acting within law by dispensing alcohol in a responsible manner, being aware of your duty of care towards patrons, other workers and general community. It involves encouraging customers to drink within appropriate limits. With the help of responsible service of alcohol practices and training, we can reduce the problem of alcohol abuse and also the costs associated with it.

It is mandatory throughout the country for all people serving alcohol including bar staff, sommeliers, waiting staff (in licensed premises), airline staff, people serving at catered events and so on.

Its primary purpose is harm minimization as set out in a National alcohol strategy by the Federal Government. Under this strategy, each state government is responsible for putting legislation and strategies in place to minimize the harm alcohol causes to various vulnerable groups in society including minors. One of the ways state governments are enabling this national strategy is through mandatory staff training.

This training is based on a national unit of competency called - SITHFAB002 Provide responsible service of alcohol and forms part of a broader hospitality training package recognised under the Australian Qualifications Framework or AQF. Only a Registered Training Organisation is allowed to deliver this training. The unit incorporates the knowledge requirements, under state and territory liquor licensing law, for employees engaged in the sale or service of alcohol.

While this national training standard exists, each state also has their own liquor licensing body and in some cases, they have specific training requirements, such as in Victoria and New South Wales. Queensland also had specific training requirements until 1 July 2013 but now recognises the national training standard.

The type of training delivery allowed also varies between states, with states such as Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia and Northern Territory, accepting online delivery of the National RSA training, while Victoria does not currently recognise online as a valid delivery channel for this type of training. Debate continues as to the benefits of online training versus classroom training, with advocates claiming it delivers benefits such as more consistent and provides better access to rural learners to deliver the training online, while opponents argue that classroom training delivers better learning outcomes.

Regardless of the delivery channel, RSA training is generally founded on the concept of Duty of care and requires managers and staff to take all reasonable precautions to protect patrons and staff by preventing patrons from becoming disorderly and/or suffering alcohol intoxication. Other topics covered include blood alcohol content, the effects of alcohol on human health, a standard drink, how to serve responsibly and how to refuse service.

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcohol_server_training and http://training.gov.au/Training/Details/SITHFAB002

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