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New Guide For Tackling Alcohol And Drugs

MEDIA RELEASE
10 September 2008

New Guide For Tackling Alcohol And Drugs In The Workplace

A new guide has been launched to help employers reduce the impact drugs and alcohol have in the workplace.

The Alcohol and other Drugs in the Workplace – Employer Guide is produced by ACC, the Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand (ALAC) and the New Zealand Drug Foundation. The booklet uses the latest national and international research and statistics to illustrate the issue and offer solutions.

With almost 48% of New Zealand’s full-time workers classified as ‘binge drinkers’, alcohol and drug use can be a hazard in any workplace – from factory floor to boardroom – even if the use and abuse happens outside work hours.

``This guide is a simple tool to help employers address the complex and fraught issue of alcohol and drugs in their workplace. It shows how employers can work with their staff to develop policies and practices to make their workplaces safer and healthier,’’ said Ross Bell, the executive director of the New Zealand Drug Foundation.

``Workers who are either under the influence, or suffering from the after-effects, have a heightened risk of injuring themselves or leaving – or losing – their job,’’ said ACC’s manager of workplace impairment injury prevention programmes, Sandra Nelson. ``Their co-workers are also more at risk of being injured and having to work harder to compensate for the impaired worker’s decreased ability.

``For employers that translates into a myriad of costs, such as absenteeism, lost work time, productivity and profits, along with other organisational effects such as increased workplace injuries, staff turnover and a reduction in staff morale,’’ she said.

ALAC’s Chief Executive Officer Gerard Vaughan said the workplace is a very important setting for programmes aimed at reducing alcohol-related harm. ``Because employees spend a lot of time at work, co-workers and supervisors may have the opportunity to notice a developing alcohol problem. In addition, employers can use their influence to motivate employees to get help for an alcohol problem,’’ he said.

The booklet is a comprehensive approach to dealing with the issue, which an employer has a legal obligation to address as a workplace hazard. The publication suggests ways to develop robust workplace alcohol and drug programmes in consultation with employees and their representatives, with a focus on prevention, education, counselling and rehabilitation.

This free resource is available by calling 0800 844 657 and quoting reference number ACC4460. A PDF can be downloaded from www.acc.co.nz/acc-publications. Go to the `business and industry’ section and click on `general’ to find it.

ENDS

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