Drug and alcohol misuse in the workplace impairs concentration and performance, with alcohol and substance abuse being linked to 60% of poor performance at work, including a lack of productivity and making mistakes .
A study in 2007 by Norwich Union Healthcare found that a third of employees had been to work with a hangover and 15% had been drunk at work, reporting that work problems that came from this included difficulty concentrating, mistakes, tiredness and reduced productivity .
Effects of Drug And Alcohol Misuse In The Workplace
The Health and Safety Executive Report found that 690,000 workers were involved in a non-fatal workplace accident.
The most common workplace accidents found were:
Costs To The Workplace
Alcohol and drug use costs to the workplace include:
Employers have a responsibility to create a clear policy on the stance of the workplace towards drug and alcohol use.
Drug And Alcohol Policy
A drug and alcohol policy allows the employer to make their expectations clear to employees.
The policy must include:
Signs Of Drug And Alcohol Misuse In The Workplace
Signs that an employee has a drug or alcohol problem include:
Causes Of Drug And Alcohol Abuse
Studies have proven that mining and construction industries have a strong culture of abusing drugs or alcohol, with each accounting for 17.5% and 16.5% of alcoholism in all industries surveyed .
In a study completed by BMC Public Health in 2021, men were proven to have higher rates of drug and alcohol misuse than women .
In a study, female police officers showed low levels of workplace stress but high levels of alcohol consumption, which is attributed to wanting to fit into a male dominated environment .
Stress In The Workplace
Alcohol and drug use in the workplace may be an attempt to develop a coping strategy as a means to overcome stress .
30% of workers drink as a way to relieve work stress .
A study by BMJ in 2015 found that stressful work situations, such as long hours, cause alcohol or drug abuse .
How Much of A Problem Is Drug And Alcohol Misuse In The Workplace?
A survey by DrugScope and Alcohol Concern found that 27% of employers had experienced issues due to drug misuse at work and 60% had issues with alcohol misuse .
Is It Illegal To Drink Or Use Drugs In The Workplace?
Although drug use is always illegal, there are no employment laws concerning the consumption of alcohol at work .
It is an offence to be drunk or or on drugs in some professions, for example, the Transport and Works Act 1992 made it illegal for workers to have used drink and drugs whilst working on transport systems .
Can You Be Fired For Drinking Or Using Drugs At Work?
If a company suspects drug use or a drug test is failed, then there are grounds for suspension or removal from the company .
There are no laws prohibiting the consumption of alcohol in the workplace, but intoxication will go against the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, highlighting the responsibilities of the employer and employees to consider others safety in the workplace .
In the Attitudes to Addiction report, 1 in 5 workers felt that they would be fired if their employers knew the full extent of their drinking or drug use .
Alcohol and drug misuse can be limited inside an organisation by: