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Why you should promote alcohol awareness and how to create an alcohol policy

​​​​​​​​As an employer you can help employees avoid having an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. This can benefit both them and your organisation as a whole.

Here you can find information on why you should promote alcohol awareness at work and how to create an alcohol policy. You can also find training opportunities for your employees.

Why promote alcohol awareness at work?

For most people, drinking responsibly can be part of a balanced lifestyle. However, the inappropriate use of alcohol can damage the health and wellbeing of a person. It can also have far reaching effects on their personal and working life.

If not addressed it can lead to things such as

  • absence and ill health
  • accidents and injuries
  • reduced productivity
  • reduced morale
  • damage to reputation.

You are also required by law, as an employer, to address the issue of alcohol in the workplace.

Relevant legislation includes the

  • Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974
  • Road Traffic Act 1988.

Create an alcohol policy

One of the best ways to address the possible risk of alcohol abuse by employees in your organisation is to create an alcohol policy.

It clarifies everyone’s rights and responsibilities. It also allows any problems relating to alcohol to be dealt with in a positive and consistent manner.

The policy should be available to everyone. It should also be applied to all employees, regardless of status.

It should clearly state

  • the rules about alcohol in your organisation
  • how issues will be dealt with
  • what support will be offered
  • when disciplinary action would be taken
  • when the policy was created and when it will be reviewed
  • a commitment to confidentiality.

​Provide training

An online managers training programme for Alcohol and Drugs in the Workplace is available. It can be used by all of your employees to raise awareness. You can access this via the NHS Health Scotland Virtual Learning Environment. You will need an account to access the course.

This e-learning course can also form part of a blended learning option for managers, together with a face to-face training day.

You can use our training and events section to find what is on near you.

Find a training event near you

Find out more

NHS Health Scotland’s Making a Change booklet contains useful information on alcohol, its effects and information to support people in making changes for themselves.

The British Heart Foundation have a booklet you can download from their website.

It provides

  • information on the benefits of raising alcohol awareness
  • guidance on writing an alcohol policy
  • ideas for events and activities to help raise awareness.
Alcohol Focus Scotland has an example Alcohol and Drug Policy which can be downloaded, along with factsheets, from their site.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) also have a guide for employers on alcohol at work which you can download from their website. It provides

  • a four-step approach you can take to tackle problems related to alcohol
  • case studies that show successful solutions.