05/01/2007

Alcohol-related problems at work - a guide for SMEs

Ninety per cent of personnel directors from top UK organisations surveyed in
1994 stated that alcohol consumption was a problem for their organisation. Most
regarded alcohol as a fairly minor problem, involving a small number of
employees. However, 17% of personnel directors described alcohol consumption as
a 'major problem' for their organisation. What concerned directors most, in
order of priority, was:


  • loss of productivity and poor performance;
  • lateness and absenteeism;
  • safety concerns;
  • effect on team morale and employee relations;
  • bad behaviour or poor discipline;
  • adverse effects on company image and customer relations.

These concerns are equally important for small and medium-sized businesses.
They fall into two main areas:

  • Alcohol-related absenteeism and sickness absence. Alcohol is estimated to
    cause 3-5% of all absences from work; about 8 to 14 million lost working days
    in the UK each year.3 How much is alcohol-related absence costing your business?
  • The effects of drinking on productivity and safety. Alcohol consumption may
    result in reduced work performance, damaged customer relations, and resentment
    among employees who have to 'carry' colleagues whose work declines because of
    their drinking. There are no precise figures on the number of workplace
    accidents where alcohol is a factor, but alcohol is known to affect judgement
    and physical co-ordination. Drinking even small amounts of alcohol before or
    while carrying out work that is 'safety sensitive' will increase the risk of an
    accident.

The British Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published a guide 'Don't mix
it! A guide for employers on alcohol at work', which advises small and
medium-sized business operators/managers on ways to deal with the problem and
encourage the introduction of workplace alcohol policies.
The publication explains the legal position, what can be done, who to consult
with, screening, a checklist, a model workplace alcohol policy and case
studies.


More info


AplusA-online.de - Source: Health and Safety Executive