Alcoholism in the workplace has a profound impact on safety and productivity. Most heavy and binge drinkers have jobs, with more than sixty percent employed as full-time workers.
According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the cost of alcoholism at work ranges from $33 billion to $68 billion a year with absenteeism estimated to be four to eight times greater among alcoholics and alcohol abusers.
Alcohol does not just affect the user: One in five employees have reported injuries or exposure to dangerous conditions because of a co-worker’s drinking, or have had to go beyond their regular work responsibilities to compensate for an employee who was alcohol-impaired.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports, however, that a place of employment can be an effective location for preventing or identifying alcohol-related problems.
To combat alcoholism in the workplace, many employers are creating comprehensive drug-free programs. Typically, these feature five components:
Creating an alcohol and drug-free workplace should be a collaborative effort between employers and employees where the needs of both parties are recognized, the right to privacy is protected, and mutual respect is a constant.
Other Sources: U.S. Department of Labor/Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy
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