WARNING: The FESTIVE SEASON has EVERYTHING JUMPING…!
- Alcohol intake triples (and almost half those aged 20–29 admit to binge drinking during this period)
- Family violence incidents reported to police jump by 25%
- Drink driving jumps… so do road deaths and trauma
- Reported workplace harassment complaints jump
- And accidental death and serious injury related to drugs and alcohol also jumps (and ambulance call-outs and physical assaults jump)
(*SOURCES: WA Police Force figures 2016-17; ABC online; SBS News.)
So, here’s a thought: why not make ‘the festive season’ a time to think about your drug and alcohol policy and the culture around drinking and respect in your workplace? Why not make it a time to remind your people of the health and personal safety risks – and detection periods – of drugs and alcohol?
Managing your drinking, how much is ‘safe’?
The real answer is that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption. However, the National Guidelines for Alcohol Consumption; Australian Government Department of Health recommend that, for men, drinking no more than two standard drinks on any day, and for women, no more than one standard drink daily – and, for both sexes, drinking no more than four standard drinks on a single occasion – reduces the risk of alcohol-related disease or injury over a lifetime.
So, when out celebrating:
- Eat before drinking alcohol, or only drink with a meal
- If you’re thirsty, before ‘cracking a beer’ drink water or something non-alcoholic first
- Keep track of how much you’re drinking (and of serving sizes)
- Don’t let friends or wait-staff ‘top-up’ your drink
- Alternate your drinks between full-strength and low-alcohol alternatives
For personal safety:
- If pregnant or breastfeeding, not drinking is the safest option (for Mum and for baby)
- Drink plenty of water
- Look out for your mates; being ‘drunk’ can expose them to danger through doing things or agreeing to things they would not otherwise do
- Appoint a ‘designated driver’ or arrange for a taxi or Uber
- And never get into a car if the driver has been drinking or taking drugs
If you’re an employer planning a Christmas Party, beware the risks:
Sure, the Christmas party is fun, and a great way to say ‘thanks’ to your loyal staff. But, if alcohol is provided, it can be riddled with risk. The safety and wellbeing of your employees at any company function, and for getting home safely, is your responsibility. Also your responsibility is the behaviour of staff.
- Avoid having alcohol as the focus of the party (plan other activities not involving alcohol)
- Provide ample food, plenty of water and non-alcoholic drinks from start to finish
- Ensure your employees can get home safely. (This will likely mean providing taxi-vouchers or making other arrangements to get staff safely home)
- Instruct wait-staff NOT to ‘top-up' alcoholic drinks
- Ensure that alcohol is not provided to anyone under 18 years-of-age
And make it absolutely clear to all that poor behaviour, inappropriate touching, comments or unwelcome attention is NOT ON! (And never excused by “too much to drink…”)
You can be held to account under The Act if you fail to provide a safe environment free from harassment or other inappropriate behaviours.
CEO – ADA Australia
ADA Australia: bringing mental health awareness, and drug and alcohol awareness training, to Australian workplaces.
We will be pleased to bring it to your workplace in 2022!
To see our training options, click here.