Alcohol-related illness costs businesses £2 billion a year

Employers are being urged to tackle drink and drugs problems
at work after research revealed that industry loses around £2 billion a year
through alcohol-related illnesses.

The report from the London Chamber of Commerce found that 43
per cent of firms have no workplace alcohol and drugs policy.  The business body called on employers to
conduct random tests on staff to combat drug and drinks problems in the

Speaking at a seminar today, Piers Merchant, Director of
Campaigns at the London Chamber said, “Companies need to treat such problems
very sensitively and offer as much support as possible.  They should devise properly thought-out
policies on how to tackle the problem and how to deal with employees found to
be under the influence of alcohol and drugs.”

He added, “As part of their overall approach, some companies
might consider measures such as a complete ban on drinking during working hours
or random alcohol or drugs tests.”

Other findings from the report reveal that workplace
problems may result from staff getting drunk or taking drugs outside office
hours as well as during them.  The
research found that even small amounts of alcohol can impair judgement, co-ordination
and reaction, leading to an increased risk of accidents.

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