Alcohol in the workplace is a serious, yet hidden problem

by 08 Dec 2009

Employers need to be mindful of the effects of alcohol on safety and productivity - particularly during the festive season - warns Frontline Diagnostics.

A recent report commissioned by the federal Department of Health & Ageing detailed that one in 10 workers said that they usually drank alcohol in the workplace and 6.6 per cent said they had turned up for work drunk in a 12-month period.

The report also said that the bill for lost productivity through hangovers and sick days, staff turnover and early retirement due to alcohol use is calculated at $5.6 billion a year.

“Testing is particularly important where there are safety issues like in the mining, construction, transport and manufacturing sectors,” said Frontline Diagnostics’ General Manager, Richard Varnish. “These industries are often already testing for drugs and alcohol testing becomes part of their regular screening,”

“Alcohol is not just a safety issue. During the festive season, there are more employer-organised events that involve alcohol and often staff feel pressured into consuming alcohol within a work peer group. The consequences of this can be far-reaching.”