The Dangers of Drinking while Working
21 February, 2022
Drinking while working is a significant problem for many companies and businesses alike. Alcohol negatively affects an employees ability to concentrate, problem-solve, and react to issues quickly. Therefore, causing many health and safety risks in the workplace. Not to mention it can be extremely costly to an employer if not appropriately handled.
The Occupational Health & Safety Act requires employees to take appropriate care of their health and safety. They should also not risk the safety of the people around them at the workplace. Drinking while working and sometimes drinking patterns outside of work hours are workplace safety and health issues. Consuming alcohol impairs your exercise of common sense, coordination, balance, and attention. You can easily ascertain if your employees are affected by alcohol or if you want to test yourself before you go to work. Owning a breathalyser can come in handy when you want to test your alcohol breath content before going to work. As for employers, there are also BACtrack workplace breathalysers available for workplace use. These devices can help monitor the blood alcohol content of the workforce. Workplace testing can help improve overall employee safety and productivity.
Impact Towards Work and Lifestyle: Drinking While Working
Consuming alcohol at low or dangerous levels can lead to adverse effects on workplaces:
- Drinking while working will reduce ‘fitness for work’ and cause an increased risk of injury to yourself and others. This issue will eventually lower the quality and quantity of work produced.
- Relationships with co-workers may become strained. Alcohol consumption can impact behaviour. e.g., a person impaired by alcohol may act inappropriately towards clients, customers, and other staff members; co-workers may be resentful for covering for others due to them being affected by alcohol.
- Workplace performance issues will start to emerge. Employees who regularly consume alcohol may have missed deadlines, increased incomplete tasks, and have reduced work output in several areas.
- Alcoholism can cause increased absenteeism and lower self-esteem. The workplace economy will suffer from alcohol-related burdens due to compensations and liabilities, employees’ loss of skills, and the related costs for recruiting and training new employees.
- Drinking while working will cause an unsafe working environment for the employees. This issue increases the risks of accidents and injuries, particularly in jobs like mining, aviation, and construction.
Drinking while working is an unhealthy lifestyle. It poses many health and safety risks not only for oneself but also for others. Impairments caused by alcohol significantly affects workplace productivity. Moreover, it does not bode well for both employer and employee if that is the case.
How to Manage Employees Drinking while Working
Employees have the fundamental right to work in a safe working environment. And it is an employer’s responsibility to handle safety risks in the workplace under the Health and Safety Work Act (HSWA) of New Zealand. It requires employers to take reasonable steps to protect employees from hazards. And those hazards include employees drinking while working. Alcohol impairment is one of the leading factors in causing injuries. Consequently, many preventable accidents or incidents in the workplace happen due to alcohol or substance abuse.
Managing health risks in the workplace consists of controlling their behaviour that could harm themselves or other workers. It could also include preventive measures to avoid property damage. Therefore, the best way to manage workplace alcoholism is to conduct alcohol breath testing as part of an overall workplace alcohol testing policy. The TDDA is a complete business solution provider for Australia and New Zealand’s workplace drug and alcohol policies. Hence, a good resource for information regarding workplace alcohol policies if an employer is just starting out.
Workplace Alcohol Policy
A healthy working environment means effectively managing risks and hazards that may endanger the workplace. It requires a collaborative effort from both employer and employee to keep the workplace safe and attain zero accident/ incident protocol. Therefore, implementing a comprehensive workplace alcohol policy helps employers and employees know their responsibilities and obligations. Moreover, it defines the implications of drinking while working. Employees should know their limitations, especially regarding misconduct that can affect workplace health and safety. Likewise, the repercussion that comes with it. A zero-tolerance policy should be adhered to at all times. It is especially critical for high-risk industries such as mining, transportation, construction and manufacturing. The workplace alcohol policy should clearly define the purpose, scope, definition, testing regulations, and expected behaviour in the workplace. And at its core, the policy should revolve around alcohol testing.
Alcohol Testing in the Workplace
Alcohol Testing is a way to prevent employees from considering drinking while working. Many businesses implement alcohol testing in the workplace to minimise the negative impact of alcohol use to protect their workers. Subsequently, to deter alcohol-impaired employees from causing further damage. Prevention is the primary initiative concerning workplace alcohol testing.
An employer has many options to determine an employee drinking while working thru testing. These include:
- Pre-employment – testing employees before they start to work
- Random – unannounced testing
- Voluntary – testing employees on their own accord
- Blanket – testing in a single event
- Targeted – testing employees under suspicion
- Post-accident or incident – testing after an accident/incident occurs
- Rehabilitation – testing employees currently under rehab
Drinking while working is especially critical when driving a vehicle, including trains and boats, or working with heavy machinery in a workplace. The higher the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC), the greater the chances of accidents or incidents. Thus, this is where the BACtrack breathalysers come in.
BACtrack Breathalysers at Breathalysers New Zealand
A breathalyser is a cost-efficient device that monitors the BAC of a person. And Breathalysers New Zealand offers a selection of highly accurate BACtrack workplace breathalysers for employers to choose from. It is an effective tool to determine workers drinking while working. Alternatively, an employee may opt for a BACtrack personal breathalyser, also available in Breathalysers New Zealand. A reliable and accurate breathalyser is critical in maintaining a safe and healthy working environment. BACtrack breathalysers have advanced fuel cell sensors to measure BAC with precision. Hence, they are also the type of breathalysers law enforcers use.
Even a tiny amount of alcohol consumed can cause impairments that can affect concentration and coordination. The recommendation is not to consume alcohol if you intend to drive or work. The best way to prevent alcohol-related accidents and health problems is to avoid drinking while working or before working hours. BACtrack workplace and personal breathalysers can effectively help employees and employers with alcohol monitoring. If you were consuming alcohol the night before, it is best to check if your BAC has fully returned to 0.00% before driving or working. Knowing your exact BAC can help improve safety for you and everyone else around you.