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Written by
on 27 April 2011


Easter has come to an end, and being one of the longest on record many people are feeling the pain as they return to work and rush the kids off to school.  The Royal Wedding on 29 April 2011 is allowing many workers in the United Kingdom to find solace in the fact that this week will be a short one with the second long weekend just over the hill.


Many firms are preparing themselves for calls in sick to the office as a result of drinking over the Easter weekend.  And with another one on the way it is highly likely that companies will be adversely affected again come next Tuesday. The Health and Safety Executive stated that these absentees cost firms millions each year and it is a problem that is on the rise.

Responsible Drinking Helps to Reduce Risks in the Workplace

With all the extra time off, many people celebrate by spending more time socialising and spending time in the pub.  This is all well and good however the Health and Safety Executive have said that it is important to remember that the alcohol stays in the system when returning to work the following day.  The excess alcohol can lead to impaired judgement and can put people in danger in the workplace.

If your employees have had an extremely heavy night they may be turning up to work with dangerous levels of alcohol remaining in the system.  This is a serious problem especially when the employee is responsible for manning a vehicle, heavy lifting and operating machinery.  This means that alcohol does not only lose firms money through days off, it also increases the risks of accidents occurring.

Ninety Per cent of Companies Find Alcohol to be Problematic

Many companies find it difficult to know what to do and so make contact with charities such as the Welsh Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs.  The chief executive, Wynford Ellis Owen, told the BBC that the worst times for alcohol related absentees was after a Bank holiday.  And with two consecutive four day weekends it is expected that many companies will feel the pain of over indulgence.

The HSE stated that 90% of directors who manage some of the top organisations in the United Kingdom say that alcohol does cause a problem for their business.  Alcohol is responsible for 14 million days of work in the UK which is roughly around 35% of the total amount of absent days.

There are many ways which companies can help to reduce the risks caused by drinking. Corus Steelworks work together with West Glamorgan Council on Drugs and Alcohol to run its very own in-house drug and alcohol programs. This requires three counsellors to be employed by Corus and the aim is to help the affected workers stay in work while trying to rehabilitate them.  The aim is also to help keep the working environment safe from alcohol and drug related risks.

The HSE and charities working with alcohol and drug problems suggest that all employers should have awareness training and also a policy which deals with such issues.  By highlighting the dangers caused by having alcohol in the blood stream it can help to lessen the risk of health and safety breaches.

If you would like to find out more about Health and Safety training courses contact our team of fully qualified consultants on 0800 1488 677 today.


About the author

David Cant is a Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME’s favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick. You can find him across social media on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.