Belfast Telegraph

Monday 14 July 2014

Alcohol test for staff recommended

Employees should be tested to identify whether they are "risky" drinkers, an expert has suggested

Workers should be screened for alcohol misuse, according to an article in a leading medical journal.

Employees should take a standardised test which identifies whether or not they are "risky" drinkers, according to the article in the bmj.com.

If problems were identified, employers could provide advice to help prevent harmful drinking at an earlier stage, Don Shenker, director and founder of the Alcohol Health Network, wrote.

He stated that introducing such a measure could "prevent alcohol-related harm and sickness costs".

" 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," he wrote.

"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.

"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."

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