Health and Safety - Drinking and Work
Alcohol and indeed any form of intoxication or substance use can be a problem for managers of an organisation as it will seriously impair the ability of a worker to perform their workplace duties in a correct, efficient and above all, safe manner. Whilst these risks can come from a person taking drugs, either legal or prescription, the most common hazard comes from alcohol. Even a small amount can affect the judgement and motor skills of a person which can have serious health and safety repercussions for themselves or those around them. Managers and/or supervisors need to ensure that people turning up for work have not been drinking and are in a fit state to work competently.
However, the beginning of the day or shift is just one point in time. It may be the case that workers are sober at the start but drink as their working day progresses. This may either be on the premises when managers are not looking or, more likely, during a lunch break. Some workers may leave the premises to go down to the pub during their lunch break and drink alcohol. Whilst they are unlikely to have the time to get extremely drunk, even a small amount can be enough to cause a mistake or misjudgement when back at work which can have severe ramifications.
To combat an actual problem or to discourage potential infringements managers not only need to carefully monitor workers to check for signs that they are intoxicated, but also need to create and enforce rules which make it clear that drinking before or during working hours will not be tolerated. This can be done through health and safety training and talks which include the pitfalls and dangers associated with drinking alcohol and performing tasks such as operating machinery. Courses and qualifications like the NEBOSH General Certificate also cover the effects of substances when looking at workplace hazards and risk controls. It may be that a worker has a serious alcohol problem rather than just someone who goes to the pub at lunchtime and has a drink, in which case help may be sought.