Alcoholism at work is becoming more of a problem, now more than ever. According to the NHS, ‘an estimated 1.6 million may have some degree of alcohol dependence’. Statistics like this illustrate just how many people fail to seek help with their alcohol addiction due to the fear of job loss and judgement from fellow work colleagues. Here, Port of Call offers advice on alcohol testing at work and alcoholism at work overall, to help guide you, or your colleague, towards the most appropriate alcohol addiction treatment.
Alcoholism at work
Being under the influence of alcohol at work
An alcoholic employee can have a huge effect on their colleagues and the company as a whole. Being under the influence of alcohol in the workplace puts the health and safety of all employees at risk and should therefore be addressed accordingly. Studies suggest alcoholism and work has grown due to the large amount of stress and heavy workloads placed on employees. Therefore, regular health and wellbeing meetings could be used as a preventative treatment method.
Of course, dealing with an alcoholic employee is an extremely difficult situation to be in, however it is important that action is taken and the issue is dealt with as soon as possible. By noticing the problem sooner, it will be easier to manage with addiction treatment. Employers have a duty of care to all employees and if a member of staff is thought to have an alcohol addiction, they must take reasonable action to help combat their colleague’s problem. Dismissal should be a last resort and an alcoholic employee should not be discouraged from seeking addiction help out of fear of losing their job.
Working with an alcoholic co-worker
Working with an alcoholic can be both stressful and disruptive and can leave you in a very awkward situation when deciding how to help them. If you suspect your co-worker is under the influence of alcohol at work, it is important to inform your employer or a member of higher management. Your employer should handle the situation accordingly; it is not your responsibility to pick up any slack that may have been caused by an alcohol addiction.
How to spot an alcoholic at work
There are a few signs and symptoms that often suggest that a staff member may have an alcohol addiction. If an employee smells of alcohol, there is a good chance they have been drinking the night before. If this is a regular occurrence, it is important to take appropriate action, which could be an intervention.
Common signs of alcoholism at work can include:
- Frequent hangovers
- Reduced productivity
- Irrational behaviour
- Change in temperament
- Regularly speaking about their unusual drinking habits
Alcohol and work performance
Studies suggest there is a strong correlation between alcoholic employees and poor work productivity. A report published in the British Medical Journal has stated that alcohol is directly or indirectly responsible for 40% of workplace accidents and 17 million lost days of work per year, equating to a cost of £7.3 billion to the UK economy. Many companies have employee alcohol policies in place and it is important that these policies are actioned in order to ensure alcoholism and work don’t intertwine.
How to deal with an alcoholic employee
The most important action should be to ensure an alcohol policy at work is in place, combating the problem before it has begun. By doing this, you are minimising the risk of alcoholism in work becoming a problem. Dealing with an alcoholic employee requires patience and understanding. Talking to a colleague about why they feel the need to drink copious amounts of alcohol can help determine the cause of the abuse and from there, you can take appropriate action.
Alcohol testing at work
How does random alcohol testing work?
Alcohol testing at work is a common preventative method many companies undertake. The construction and railway industries commonly carry out alcohol testing in order to protect the health and safety of employees and the public. Random alcohol testing in the workplace is legal in the UK, providing the procedure is undertaken in accordance with the human rights act. For example, the individual’s privacy should be respected. There are three types of alcohol tests; urine, oral and hair testing. Testing an individual’s hair is the most intrusive form of alcohol testing and is also a relatively lengthy process. Urine and oral tests are the most common.
Port of Call is here to help with alcoholism at work
If you are dealing with an alcohol addiction, Port of Call is here to help and can help you access the right treatment to suit your needs. Similarly, if you have an alcoholic employee, we can offer advice on the steps you can take in order to help them, including intervention methods. If you wish to speak to one of our confidential advisors, please contact us for free today by calling 0800 002 9010. Alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org, or complete our call-back request form and we can get in touch with you at your convenience.