Taking Action on Alcohol - Employers Workplace Health

Alcohol use can affect more than an employee’s health, safety, and job performance.

Some Facts for Employers about Alcohol Use:

  • Use of alcohol increases the risk for stroke, cancer, and high blood pressure. These health problems are more closely related to the amount of alcohol consumed than the type of alcohol consumed (ie: wine, beer or spirits). 
  • Alcohol affects individuals in different ways and to varying degrees depending on age, weight, sex, state of health or level of fatigue 
  • Alcohol is a depressant and impairs concentration, judgement and co-ordination. It is estimated that alcohol contributes to 20-25% of workplace accidents. 
  • A worker under the influence of alcohol is a safety risk to both themselves and co-workers, especially in sectors where heavy equipment is operated such as in manufacturing, transportation and construction. 
  • Some people use alcohol as a way to cope with the stress of work or personal issues.
  • Employers can be vulnerable to lawsuits if an employee under the influence of alcohol harms themselves or coworkers while on the job.

Possible stressors in the work environment:

Although alcohol use can be a response to personal problems, stress in the workplace can play a role. Some stressors to be aware of are: 

  • Repetitious duties 
  • Long hours 
  • Irregular shifts 
  • Remote or irregular supervision 
  • Low job satisfaction 
  • Fatigue 
  • Periods of inactivity or boredom 
  • Isolation

What Employers Can Do:

  • Provide employees with information on the effects of alcohol use. 
  • Create a supportive environment that encourages healthy behaviours. 
  • Promote Canada's Low Risk Drinking Guidelines external link in your workplace. 
  • Have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that offers support to employees who use alcohol and drugs. 
  • Become familiar with an employers’ legal responsibilities and liability external linkpdf 913 KB 
If you think that alcohol may be a problem for someone on your staff, suggest they contact their doctor for help. In Halton, call 311 for information on local agencies or go to the Ontario Drugs and Alcohol Helpline for advice.

Related Links

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health external link 
Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse external link