Reducing alcohol-related harm in the workplace: An evidence review: summary report

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High risk alcohol use is associated with a range of adverse impacts on organisations. The impacts include workplace accidents and injuries, workplace fatalities, reduced productivity, poor work relations, and increased absenteeism (an employeeâ''s time away from work due to illness) and presenteeism (decreased on-the-job performance due to the presence of health conditions). The economic benefits for workplaces in reducing alcohol-related harm are considerable; lost productivity in the workplace attributable to alcohol costs $3.5 billion annually. Other benefits include a safer working environment with decreased accidents, injuries and fatalities, and compliance with occupational health and safety and related legislation.Individual, community and workplace factors all influence high risk alcohol use. Population groups that are most at risk include men; young people aged 14â''29 years; those in lower skilled and manual occupations; and those employed in the agriculture, retail, hospitality, manufacturing, construction and financial services industries. Increased availability of or access to alcohol â'' in the community and at work â'' is a critical factor, and is associated with high risk alcohol use. Research clearly shows that the harms associated with alcohol use can be reduced. In order to effectively reduce alcohol-related harm, workplace interventions should:â'¢ account for the complexity of the issue â'¢ be evidence-informedâ'¢ be multifaceted with strategies that address individual staff and organisational factors â'¢ prioritise high risk occupations and workplacesâ'¢ develop clear goals through consultationâ'¢ engage all stakeholdersâ'¢ assess the risk, including a review of how alcohol is made availableâ'¢ be tailored to the individual workplace and culture The evidence review, Reducing alcohol-related harm in the workplace (An evidence review: full report), found that harmful alcohol use is a significant preventable health issue. For the purposes of this report, work-related alcohol use incorporates alcohol-related harm that has an impact on theworkplace (e.g. increased accident risk or reduced workplace productivity due to intoxication or hangover effects) resulting from drinking at work or outside of work, and drinking that is informed or influenced by workplace factors. Alcohol-related harm refers to both the short-term and long-term negative consequences of alcohol use.Alcohol use is widespread in many countries, including Australia. Approximately 90 per cent of the Australian workforce consumes alcohol. The majority of drinking takes place after the completion of a working day, or on days off, although sometimes it does occur during the working day. High risk/harmful alcohol use outside work, as well as at work, can have adverse impacts on the workplace. High risk alcohol use results in major health, social and economic consequences for the individual drinker, theirfamilies, organisations and society. It contributes significantly to injury, disease, disability and death, accounting for 3.2 per cent of the total burden of disease and injury in Australia; 4.9 per cent in males and 1.6 per cent in females. Alcohol is a major contributor to non-communicable disease, especially among young people, and is related to the causesof more than 60 different medical conditions. The cost to the Australian community from alcohol-related harm is estimated to be at least $15.3 billion per year. On top of this, it is estimated that the harm to others caused by Australian drinkers costs the community $20 billion a year.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCarlton, Victoria, Australia
Number of pages28
ISBN (Print)9781921822322
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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