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Alcoholic Blood Work: Monitoring Alcohol Level In The Workplace

04 September, 2023

A man browsing his phone while drinking liquor.

Monitoring alcohol levels in the workplace is crucial for maintaining a safe and productive environment. Alcoholic blood work involves testing employees for alcohol consumption to ensure they are not under the influence while on duty. This type of monitoring is important as it helps prevent accidents, reduces the risk of impaired decision-making, and promotes a responsible work culture. By regularly conducting alcohol tests, employers can identify and address any potential issues related to alcohol use.

Alcohol use at the workplace can negatively impact both individuals and the overall productivity and safety of the organisation. Excessive alcohol consumption during working hours can impair judgment, reduce productivity, and increase the risk of accidents and injuries. Therefore, many companies have adopted policies that include alcohol tests as part of their health and safety measures. This article will present the signs and symptoms of intoxicated employees, the types of alcohol tests, and the significance of alcohol monitoring.

Signs And Symptoms Of Employees With Alcoholic Blood At Work

Employees who exhibit signs and symptoms of alcoholic blood at work may be struggling with an alcohol use disorder. Recognising these indications is crucial for both the affected individual and their well-being in the workplace. Some changes in behaviour may include increased irritability and mood swings. These changes can stem from alcohol-induced impairments in cognitive and motor functions.

Physically, employees with alcoholic blood may exhibit symptoms such as bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, unsteady walking, or poor coordination. These physical manifestations can often be attributed to elevated blood alcohol levels resulting from heavy alcohol consumption. In addition, liver function tests may reveal indicators of liver damage or other health conditions due to chronic alcohol abuse.

Furthermore, employees may experience a noticeable decrease in their work performance. Chronic alcohol consumption can negatively impact concentration, memory, decision-making abilities, and overall cognitive function. Heavy drinkers may struggle to meet deadlines, make errors in their work, or have difficulty focusing on tasks. These issues can also lead to increased absenteeism or tardiness.

Risks Of Having Intoxicated Employees

  • Alcohol poisoning: intoxicated employees may consume excessive amounts of alcohol, leading to alcohol poisoning or other medical conditions.
  • Impaired judgment: elevated levels of alcohol affect cognitive function.
  • Decreased productivity: intoxicated employees may be less focused and less efficient in their work.
  • Increased risk of accidents: adverse effects of alcohol impairs coordination and reaction time
  • Poor customer service: excessive drinking can affect an employee’s ability to provide high-quality customer service.
  • Negative impact on team dynamics: intoxicated employees may exhibit disruptive behaviour, causing conflicts within the team.
  • Legal and liability issues: employers could face legal consequences if an intoxicated employee causes harm to themselves or others.

A breathalyser showing a 0% test result.

Types Of Tests To Detect Employees With Alcoholic Blood At Work

Individuals and employers should recognise the serious consequences of heavy drinking. Consequently, employers ought to implement measures for identifying employees with alcoholic blood at work. They can utilise various types of tests to detect alcohol presence in the body. These include urine tests, blood tests, saliva tests, hair tests, and breath tests.

Firstly, health professionals commonly use alcohol urine testing to identify alcohol ingestion within the past 48 hours. These tests can detect direct biomarkers of alcohol consumption, specifically ethyl glucuronide and ethyl sulfate. Secondly, blood tests can determine alcohol levels and gain insights into the impact of alcohol on the body

Thirdly, saliva tests are quick and non-invasive methods to detect recent alcohol consumption. These tests can provide accurate results within a short period of time. Fourthly, hair tests can detect alcohol biomarkers over a longer period of time. Lastly, breath tests can detect recent alcohol consumption through breathalysers. They measure the Blood Alcohol Concentrations (BAC) by analysing the alcohol present in the breath. Breathalysers can determine if an individual is within legal limits for alcohol consumption.

Advantages Of Using Breathalysers

Using a workplace breathalyser, like Shield Express Identity, for alcohol screening offers several advantages. It provides quick and accurate results. Employees can easily blow into the device, and within seconds, the device will display their BAC levels. This eliminates the need for time-consuming and invasive blood or urine tests.

Additionally, a breathalyser can be carried around and used at any time, making it convenient for medical testing in different locations. Moreover, a breathalyser is cost-effective compared to laboratory testing, which can be expensive and time-consuming. Overall, a breathalyser provides a convenient, accurate, and cost-effective solution for ensuring an alcohol-free work environment.

 

A man in safety gear at the workplace.

Reasons For Monitoring Alcoholic Blood At Work

Monitoring alcoholic blood at work is crucial for several reasons. It helps ensure the safety of employees and their colleagues. Excessive alcohol consumption can impair judgment, coordination, and reaction times, leading to an increased risk of accidents and injuries. By conducting tests to check for alcohol biomarkers, healthcare providers can identify individuals who may engage in heavy drinking habits.

Additionally, monitoring alcoholic blood helps maintain productivity. Chronic alcohol consumption can have detrimental effects on physical and mental health, leading to absenteeism, decreased productivity, and poor performance. By implementing alcohol blood testing, healthcare professionals can identify employees who may need assistance in managing their drinking habits. This proactive approach can help employees maintain their well-being and contribute effectively to their work responsibilities.

Lastly, monitoring the level of alcohol at work is important for legal and liability reasons. Some industries have strict policies and legal limits regarding alcohol consumption. Regular blood alcohol testing can provide evidence of compliance with these regulations. It also allows employers to identify potential liability issues and take appropriate measures.

Handling Results

Proper handling of workplace alcohol test results is crucial for maintaining a safe and productive work environment. Firstly, companies must ensure confidentiality and privacy when handling these results. Only authorised personnel should have access to the information, and it should be securely stored to prevent any unauthorised access.

Additionally, clear and consistent policies and procedures should be in place regarding the interpretation and consequences of alcohol test results. This includes providing support and resources for employees who may require assistance in addressing any alcohol-related issues. By handling workplace alcohol test results properly, employers can effectively address potential risks and maintain a safe and healthy workplace.

Conclusion

Recognising signs of alcoholic blood in employees is vital for their well-being and workplace dynamics. Observable changes in behaviour and physical symptoms can indicate alcohol-related impairment. Implementing tests like urine, blood, saliva, hair, and breath tests aids in detecting alcohol presence. Monitoring alcoholic blood at work serves multiple purposes: ensuring safety, maintaining productivity, and adhering to legal regulations. By taking a proactive approach, employers can support employees’ health and contribute to a safer and more productive work environment.

Moreover, utilising breathalysers, like BACtrack, in alcohol screening offers quick, accurate, and convenient results, avoiding the need for invasive tests. Unlike other tests, breathalysers do not require blood or urine samples to be collected, eliminating the risk of cross-contamination. However, employers should properly manage the test results. Authorised personnel should exclusively access the confidential information, securely storing it to prevent unauthorised entry. Ensuring confidentiality, clear policies, and accessible support resources aids in maintaining safety and productivity in the workplace.

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