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Keith Gorman Alcohol and the workplace. What will be covered. Current UK and local position How alcohol can affect business Identifying problems in the workplace Alcohol policies Legal issues Support and referrals Gaining further information/ resources. Current UK and local position.

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keith gorman alcohol and the workplace
Keith Gorman

Alcohol and the workplace

what will be covered
What will be covered
  • Current UK and local position
  • How alcohol can affect business
  • Identifying problems in the workplace
  • Alcohol policies
  • Legal issues
  • Support and referrals
  • Gaining further information/ resources
current uk and local position
Current UK and local position

Cabinet office 2003

  • 17 million workdays lost each year England
  • £6.4 billion each year – economic costs
health@work jmu research study
Health@Work/ JMU research study
  • Employer responses
  • 28% companies have been negatively affected by alcohol
  • 1/3 negatively affected by employee drinking outside of work
  • Over half employers thought alcohol contributed to sickness absence
  • Several employers had dealt with alcohol related problems with employees (some resulting in dismissal)
  • Most noted sickness levels increased following sporting events (football, rugby etc) the night before
employee responses
Employee responses

1/6 reported being late as result of alcohol consumption

1 in 5 reported arriving at work with hangover at least once in past 2 weeks

how can alcohol affect organisations
How can alcohol affect organisations?


  • Employees health
  • Unsafe acts
  • Civil claims for injuries/ damages
  • Loss of productivity – increase sickness absence
  • Low staff moral
  • Customer relations/ public perception
  • Breaking of the law


Management time dealing with problems, friction with

employees, higher staff turnover, disciplinary actions, health

and safety implications

how to identify problems
How to identify problems
  • Poor performance/ timekeeping
  • Increased sickness absence
  • Deteriorating relationships
  • Accidents/ incidents
  • Mood swings, anxiety and depression
  • Changes in personal appearance

Providing suitable staff training and information will help identify problems early

why have a written policy
Why have a written policy?
  • Clarify position
  • Explain how organisation will deal with problems
  • Show level of support for people with problems
  • Build confidence in coming forward for help
  • Send out clear message to employees that alcohol and work do not mix
  • Comply with employment and health and safety law
  • Clear procedure to effectively manage alcohol related problems at early stage
  • Shows that employer is proactive with healthy workplace
what does a good policy look like
What does a good policy look like?

Alcohol, Drug and Substance Misuse Policy

Active date: 26.04.07


  • Merseyside Fire & Rescue Authority (‘the Authority’) is concerned with the general health, wellness and welfare of all its employeesand to this end aims to provide a safe and healthy working environment for all personnel.
  • This document sets out the Authority’s policy in respect of employees whose proper performance, whilst at work, is impaired as a result of the taking of drugs or the consumption of alcohol.
  • Aims of the Policy
  • Misuse of alcohol and drugs has the potential to adversely affect the health and quality of life of the individual, impair the ability to carry out duties efficiently, effectively and safely, jeopardise the safety of other personnel and members of the public and, ultimately impair the ability of the Authority to fulfil its commitments.
  • Raising Awareness
  • The Authority will institute a programme of health promotion initiatives, which will ensure that employees are made aware of the problems and risks associated with alcohol and drug abuse, the signs and symptoms of abuse, and the method of seeking confidential treatment, guidance and advice.

Management Responsibilities

  • Individual Responsibilities
  • Alcohol/Substance Abuse Pathway of Care
  • Referral and Diagnosis
  • Employee Voluntarily or Occupational Health
  • Agreed Treatment Programme
  • Assessment Period
legal issues
Legal issues
  • Health and Safety at Work Act
  • Transport and Works Act
  • Railway and Transport safety Act
  • Management of Health and Safety at Work Reg’s
  • Provision and use of Work Equipment Reg’s
  • Corporate Manslaughter
  • Employment rights Act
  • Civil actions
supporting staff
Supporting staff
  • Clear policy
  • What support is offered
  • Access to leaflets and information
  • Occupational health
  • Share best practice
  • Referred to specialist
  • Paid time off
hosting events
Hosting events

Increase in civil claims

  • Accidents
  • Fights/ Bullying
  • Sexual harassment claims

Positive actions include:

  • Organisewell in advance
  • Provide food
  • Alcoholic & non alcoholic drinks
  • Transport
  • Serve measures
gaining further information resources
Gaining further information/ resources
  • Local primary care trusts & health promotions department
  • British heart foundation
  • Drink Aware
health@work resources
Health@Work resources


Keith Gorman

Alcohol and the workplace

0151 236 6608