5% of Australian workers have admitted working under the influence of alcohol, enhancing the likelihood of injury or death.

Some workplace sectors, and workplace cultures, may increase levels of risky alcohol consumption. Industries such as construction, financial services, manufacturing, hospitality and agriculture are at a higher risk of alcohol-related harms.

Additionally, workplace factors such as high stress environments, social isolation, shift work, insecure employment as well as workplace experiences of discrimination, harassment and conflict may also be conducive to increases in risky alcohol consumption.

Being hungover from alcohol, coming down off other drugs, or simply being exhausted by a big weekend of use, can all impact on someone’s ability to concentrate, think and react quickly, and make good decisions.

Depending on the work that person is undertaking, this reduced performance could lead to annoying errors or mistakes – or the harms could be much more severe.

10% of workers have reported experiencing negative effects from a co-worker’s misuse of alcohol, including:

  • being involved in an accident or close call
  • their reduced ability to do their job
  • having to work extra hours to cover for a co-worker
  • a co-worker taking at one or more days off work.

What Workers & Workplaces can do:

  1. Establishing a clear policy about alcohol & other drugs in the workplace, including how incidents will be managed.
  2. Making a support service, such as an EAP (Employee Assistance Program), available to help workers and managers deal with AOD issues they may be experiencing (this should not be limited to alcohol and other drugs, but also include ways to deal with stress, conflict, bullying, etc.).
  3. Taking steps to regularly educate employees about alcohol and other drugs, including the potential impacts at work, at home, and to employees’ long-term health and wellbeing.