A New Report says Alcohol Testing should be Mandatory.
An organisation set up to tackle alcohol misuse has called for workplace testing to seek out problem drinkers identify that they have a problem.
The Alcohol Health Network wants employees to take a standardised alcohol test which identifies whether or not they are misusing alcohol and or have an addiction.
Alcohol Testing Should Take Place At Work
The body’s director and founder, Don Shenker, wrote in the British Medical Journal that “if problems were identified, employers could provide advice to help prevent problem drinking at an early stage.”
He said that introducing such a measure could “prevent alcohol-related harm and sickness costs”.
Mr Shenker wrote: “Offering staff confidential use of the ‘alcohol use disorders identification test’ and brief advice as a self-awareness initiative at work, whether through face to face interactions or leaflets, may well help prevent problems with alcohol at an earlier stage.
“In this way, staff who may be concerned about their drinking or whose level of drinking is not yet apparent to them can assess the risks their drinking poses to their health and take appropriate action before this becomes a problem
“Reducing hazardous drinking also reduces the risk of dependent drinking occurring.”
He added: “Employers need also to be convinced of the business case for prevention rather than cure – that is, that it is ultimately more cost effective to prevent and reduce harmful drinking in the general working population, compared with the costs of managing dependent drinking among a minority of staff.”
The NHS estimates that in the UK around 9% of men and 4% of women show signs of alcohol dependence.
In 2011, 167,764 prescriptions for drugs to treat alcohol dependency were prescribed.
In 2010, 6,669 deaths were directly related to alcohol.
The UK Government advises that people should not regularly drink more than the daily unit guidelines of three to four units of alcohol for men (equivalent to a pint and a half of 4% beer) and two to three units of alcohol for women (equivalent to a 175ml glass of wine).
Some industries already regularly test their employees for alcohol abuse, for example if you work in an environment that is dangerous such as oil workers.
A spokesperson for AlphaBiolabs the UK’s largest workplace alcohol tester said “we are happy to be working with some of the largest organisation in the UK to test their employees for alcohol abuse. Most employers we provide testing services for are not looking to dismiss staff members who have a problem. They value their skills and want what’s best for them.
“AlphaBiolabs have seen the use of our workplace drug and alcohol testing services increase over the last five years so the demand is there. We think that the Government should do more to support employers in this matter, not just for the massive savings that will be made by the NHS treating alcohol related problems, but the for the benefit of UK employees in general.