Alcohol Awareness Week


Alcohol Awareness

There is clear evidence that excessive and inappropriate alcohol use can have significant detrimental effects on an individual, the family and society.

Alcohol Facts:

  • Premature deaths caused by alcohol
    • Road traffic collisions
    • Suicide
    • Cancers
    • Chronic liver failure
  • Disability linked to alcohol
    • Over 150,000 years of working life lost in 2015
    • 24% of dementia linked to alcohol related brain damage.
    • Obesity due to high calorific value of beer and wine
  • Family and social cohesion breakdown
    • Partner and children physical and mental abuse including relationships breakdown
    • Financial difficulties and social isolation
    • Major contributor to public disorder and custodial sentences

 What is responsible drinking?

Safe levels of alcohol consumption depends on the individual and the situation they are in.

  • For the general healthy adult population research has shown that 14 units of alcohol for men and women spread over a week does not have a long term detrimental effect on health. Binge drinking, i.e. drinking 6 units of alcohol in one session, can have harmful short term effects.
  • For safety critical activity, e.g. driving, riding a bike, operating machinery etc., there is no safe limit. Individuals should refrain from any alcohol consumption at least 8 hours before being involved in those activities.
  • Pregnant women, especially during the first trimester, should refrain from any alcohol consumption.

Know your limits

  • One pint of beer = 2.3 units and 182 kCals (equivalent to running for 16 minutes)
  • One small glass of red wine = 2.3 units and 159 Kcals (equivalent to running for 16 minutes)
  • Small spirit measure = 1 unit and 61 Kcals (equivalent to running for 6 minutes)

Healthwork Advice and Discussion

Alcohol and the workplace

It is important that employers are aware that alcohol issues can impact on the performance and behaviour of employees in the workplace. In some operational areas, alcohol can be a Health and Safety risk and has to be managed.  This is especially important in safety critical areas of work.

Managing the risks

  • Organisations should develop a clear alcohol policy after consultation with all their stakeholders and Occupational Health.
  • Managers and supervisors should be trained on the implementation and operational processes of policies.
  • Employees and other stakeholders should also receive appropriate training so that there is a clear understanding of the policy.
  • Regular alcohol awareness campaigns are important to re-inforce messages about safe drinking.
  • It is helpful to have resources available in the workplace for employees to help with alcohol issues.
  • Occupational Health support for managers and employees to manage individual cases of alcohol concern are an important risk management measure.

Healthwork is able to manage all requirements for drug and alcohol services/testing.  Our occupational health nurses and doctors are fully trained and we can provide:

  • collection of samples
  • analysis of results
  • policy development
  • clinical and occupational health management of drug and alcohol cases in the workplace
  • training – for employees and managers
  • health promotional and wellbeing activities (e.g. mini alcohol related health checks, screenings and health promotion sessions)
occupational health physician work including medical review officer work