New research by facilities management specialists, Direct365, has found that 24.5 percent of people openly admit that they intend to consume alcohol on a ‘work night’ during the Christmas party season. Direct365 is proposing that employers ‘breathalyse’ employees who might still be over the limit when they return to work the next morning, to improve safety.

This year’s Alcohol Awareness Week runs from the 16th to the 22nd November and aims to educate people about the dangers of consuming too much alcohol. The theme of this year’s awareness week is ‘the impact of alcohol on health and society’, which will address the repercussions that alcohol can have on our daily lives, including in the workplace.

This is the time of year when people are encouraged to ‘get into the Christmas spirit’ by drinking alcohol more frequently, such as after-work drinks and parties. It is often deemed socially acceptable to drink more than the recommended daily allowance, even if people have to work the next day.

“Many of us are guilty of drinking more than we should during the Christmas period, and nobody wants to be a festive killjoy, but when people overindulge on week nights it could have serious consequences the next day while they are at work,” says Emma Gilroy, brand development manager at Direct365.

“Our research shows that one in four people openly admit that they will be drinking more over the next few weeks, so businesses should take extra precautions to ensure safety in the workplace such as educating employees about alcohol units and having alcohol testing kits onsite.”

Waking from an alcohol-heavy night could see employees finding themselves over the drink driving limit and they could still have enough alcohol in their bloodstream to affect their performance at work.

While companies are not legally required to implement any alcohol and drug policies, the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 states that employers have a responsibility to look after the health, safety and wellbeing of their staff.

“It may seem extreme, and you certainly don’t want to alienate staff by forcing them to line up and take a breath test as soon as they walk into the building, but it’s important that any employees who are still under the influence aren’t allowed to put themselves or their colleagues in danger. It’s better to be safe than sorry,” Gilroy concluded.