Home > High alcohol and drug use among industrial workers rings alarm bells

High alcohol and drug use among industrial workers rings alarm bells

Editorial
article image Most people don't fully understand the effect alcohol has on them, particularly when it comes to drinking one night having an impact well into the next day

Findings from a poll conducted by the Australian Drug Foundation across a range of industries indicate high alcohol and drug use among workers.

The poll reveals that one in five employees has performed their job while under the influence of alcohol. Likewise, one in five workers polled had called in sick due to the effects of alcohol. Around 40% admitted to going to work while still feeling the effects of their drinking, and nearly one in five had performed work duties while tipsy or drunk.

The Australian Drug Foundation's Head of Workplace Services, Phillip Collins will be in Perth for the upcoming Safety in Action Conference at the Convention and Exhibition Centre and will participate in a panel discussion on alcohol and drugs in the workplace.

Phillip said that many people don't realise the hidden costs and risks associated with drinking. He explains that most people don't fully understand the effect alcohol has on them, particularly when it comes to drinking one night having an impact well into the next day. Alcohol affects a person's concentration, coordination and decision making ability, and slows reaction times, which can all have serious 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 five 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. However, workplace drug testing in other contexts is far more controversial.

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

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