RSA Explained: A Glossary

Boost your training confidence by becoming acquainted with key terms.
May 29, 2023

Individuals interested in taking a Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) course may encounter several terms that could be unfamiliar but are essential to understand for effective training. 

Terms to Know

Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)

A measure of the amount of alcohol currently in the blood, generally used to gauge a person’s level of intoxication.

Competency Conversation

A discussion between the assessor and the student to verify that the student understands and can apply what they have learned in the RSA course.

Compliance Checks

Random inspections conducted by authorised bodies to ensure venues are adhering to liquor licensing laws.

Drink and Drive Limit

The BAC level at which a person cannot legally drive. In Australia, this is .05%.

Drink Spiking

The illegal and unethical practice of adding a substance, such as drugs or alcohol, to another person's drink without their knowledge or consent.

Duty of Care

The responsibility of the server to ensure the health and safety of their patrons, particularly when it comes to alcohol service.

Harm Minimisation

Strategies or approaches used in the hospitality industry to reduce the adverse health and social impacts related to the consumption of alcohol.

High-Risk Customer Groups

Groups at heightened risk from the negative impacts of excessive drinking and intoxication, e.g. pregnant women.

Identification Checking

The process by which the server must verify the identity and age of a person before selling or serving them alcohol.

In-house Policy

A statement of intent about how the licensee wishes to operate the licensed premises.


The condition of having noticeably diminished physical and mental control due to the consumption of alcohol. There are seven stages of intoxication.


The person or entity holding a venue's liquor licence.

Liquor Licensing Laws

These are the legal rules that regulate the sale and consumption of alcohol. They differ between states and territories in Australia.

Observer Report

A form filled out by a third-party observer to verify the student's competency in responsible alcohol service.

Practical Assessment

A section of this RSA training that you must complete to receive your certification. It is often an Observer Report or a Video Assessment.

Proof of Age

Official documents used to verify whether a person is of the legal drinking age.

Registered Training Organisation (RTO)

An organisation accredited by the Australian government to deliver vocational education and training.

RSA Endorsements

Additional, specialised training on top of the general RSA certification, which may focus on specific types of alcohol service, like cocktail preparation or wine tasting.

RSA Refresher

This is a shorter course meant to update existing RSA certificate holders on any changes in liquor laws and best practices in responsible service.


This is the Unit of Competency that allows someone to “provide responsible service of alcohol”. This unit describes the skills and knowledge required to sell or serve alcohol responsibly.

Standard Drink

A term used to measure the amount of pure alcohol in a beverage, crucial for assessing levels of intoxication and serving alcohol responsibly.

Standard Drinks Guide

A visual guide provided by this course that shows how much of each type of alcoholic beverage makes up a standard drink.

Statement of Attainment

The certificate you receive upon successfully completing an RSA course, confirming you have gained the necessary skills and knowledge in responsible alcohol service.

Venue Manager

The individual responsible for overseeing the operation of a venue, ensuring all staff are trained and certified in the responsible service of alcohol.

Virtual Video Assessment

An online method of assessing a student's understanding and capabilities in responsible alcohol service.

Understanding the key terms and concepts involved in training can empower you to engage more effectively with your RSA course. Whether you're learning about compliance checks, developing harm minimisation strategies, or aiming to understand liquor licensing laws, having a solid vocabulary will enrich your educational experience.

Expand Your Knowledge With Training

For those ready to dive deeper and apply this knowledge, the best bet is the RSA course offered by the Australian Institute of Food Safety. It's a comprehensive program that combines theory with practical, hands-on experience. With its flexible online format and support from qualified trainers, it provides not just essential training but unmatched convenience and support.

In a field where responsible service can have significant social and legal repercussions, being well-informed is not just an asset; it's a necessity. Take the first step in becoming a proficient, responsible alcohol server by investing in an RSA course that equips you with both the terminology and the skills for success.