One in five workers under the influence at work

16-06-2014

One in 5 employees has performed their job while under the influence of alcohol.

The findings from a poll conducted by the Australian Drug Foundation across a range of industries, found that:

  • 1 in 5 workers polled had taken a sickie due to the effects of alcohol
  • About 40 percent admitted to going to work while still feeling the effects of their drinking
  • Nearly 1 in 5 had performed work duties while tipsy or drunk.

The Australian Drug Foundation’s Head of Workplace Services, Phillip Collins, attended the Safety in Action Conference in Perth last week for a panel discussion on alcohol and drugs in the workplace.

Mr Collins said that many people don’t realise the hidden costs and risks associated with drinking.

“From an individual perspective, most people don’t fully understand the effect alcohol has on them – particularly when it comes to drinks one night having an impact well into the next day.

“Alcohol affects a person’s concentration, coordination, decision making ability and slows reaction times. These can have implications for workplace safety and productivity.”

Alcohol and other drugs cost Australian businesses $6 billion a year in lost productivity and absenteeism, with alcohol use contributing to 5 per cent of all Australian workplace deaths and 11 per cent of accidents.

Many workplaces look to drug testing as one solution to alcohol and other drug problems in the workplace.

“People engaged in safety critical work such as transport, or the use of heavy machinery, expect to undergo drug testing to reduce the risk of harm to themselves and others. Yet in other contexts workplace drug testing is far more controversial.”

The poll, funded by the Myra Stoicesco Charitable Fund, surveyed 1000 Victorian employees.

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