It is common for employees to end the working day with a bottle or two of alcoholic beverages. Many people find alcohol helpful in relaxing or relieving stress in moderate amounts. However, it is crucial to be mindful of the intake to avoid overconsumption. In excessive amounts, alcohol severely impairs the senses, judgment, and motor functions. Likewise, it poses health and safety risks, especially driving or working the next day. Therefore, employees drinking at work after hours present a significant workplace issue. Impairment at work is a leading cause of accidents and low productivity. As a result, companies implement safety procedures or policies to minimise the negative impacts of alcohol use.
Alcohol is one of the most consumed beverages worldwide. Alcohol consumption is prevalent among employees across all industries. Even though alcohol is acceptable, some workplaces have strict protocols against alcohol use. Particularly, high-risk sectors like mining, construction, aviation, transportation, and production facilities have zero tolerance for alcohol. It means that workers must have zero alcohol concentration while working. Therefore, employees drinking at work after hours must ensure they are completely sober the next day. Subsequently, employers enforce alcohol testing through a workplace policy. Devices from Breathalysers Australia can estimate the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) to determine intoxication. However, as an employee, what are the dos and don’ts of alcohol use?
Guidelines for Alcohol Consumption after Work
Generally, it is outside the employer’s authority what employees do in their free time. However, alcohol becomes a workplace issue if impairment affects the safety of others and work performance. Thus, an alcohol policy is vital in determining what is permitted or not in the workplace. Additionally, the policy should be clear and agreed upon by employees. Therefore, employees drinking at work after hours must consider the company rules to remain safe. The guidelines below can help in managing consumption:
- Know your limit and stick to it. Plan how many drinks you can manage without feeling the effects of intoxication.
- Eat first and drink water – eating before and during alcohol consumption helps slow down the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream. As a result, it causes the BAC to increase slowly.
- Alternate alcohol with non-alcoholic beverages
- Use a breathalyser to monitor your blood alcohol level. Breathalysers like BACtrack can efficiently measure your BAC.
- Assign a designated driver. Do not attempt to drive with alcohol content in your blood. Even if your BAC is below the legal limit (0.05%), it still poses a driving hazard.
Employees Drinking at Work After Hours: What Not to Do
Employees drinking at work after hours is normal, but it can escalate quickly if the person is not alert. Furthermore, frequent consumption can lead to safety and health issues in the long term. Therefore, aside from knowing the safe guidelines for alcohol use, it is also important to know what not to do.
- Avoid drinking games. Drinking games can only cause you to consume more than you intend to.
- Do not mix alcohol with medicine. Some prescription or over-the-counter drugs can increase the effects of alcohol. Likewise, caffeine and stimulants may trick you into feeling less impaired.
- Avoid drinks with high alcohol concentration, especially if there is work the next day.
- Do not consume more than one standard drink every hour.
The Importance of a Workplace Policy
Managing safety hazards is one of the primary responsibilities of employers. One of the practical safety measures that companies can implement is alcohol testing through a comprehensive policy. The program act as a guide in determining the right conduct that employees must follow. Typically, an alcohol policy outlines the safety measures, testing procedures, and consequences of having positive test results. It also includes responding to employees drinking at work after hours who report the next day with impairment. For example, companies may administer alcohol screening regularly as part of the scheduled medical evaluation or at random times. Random testing helps identify employees with a BAC or who may be struggling with a disorder. Additionally, it is essential to test employees after an accident has occurred.
Implementing a workplace policy can help manage employees drinking at work after hours. For example, safety-critical industries require workers to take a breath test before entering the premises. If the test returns positive, the employee is ineligible to work. Furthermore, employees may also face corresponding disciplinary actions if they fail a breath test. The workplace policy enables employers to conduct necessary alcohol tests while reducing legal liabilities. Moreover, workplaces perform alcohol screening through several procedures. The standard method is a breath test. However, some companies also use urine, mouth swab, or blood sampling in some instances.
Employees Drinking at Work After Hours: Alcohol Testing through Breathalysers
The standard procedure for alcohol testing is a breath test through a breathalyser. It is a portable device that estimates the BAC level by analysing the breath sample. Professional devices from Breathalysers Australia utilise fuel cell sensor technology to measure the BAC accurately. Fuel cell breathalysers work by performing an electrochemical process to oxidise alcohol. The reaction produces small electrical currents based on the amount of alcohol in the breath sample and converts it into BAC. Within seconds, the device displays the BAC results. Fuel cell breathalysers have high sensitivity to ethanol and do not react with other substances. Therefore, they are less likely to produce errors or false positives. Moreover, employees drinking at work after hours may use a personal breathalyser to ensure their BAC level returns to 0.00% before work the next day.
Professional-grade Devices for Personal Use
Employees drinking at work after hours may ask if they can use a pro-grade breathalyser personally. Fuel cell breathalysers are widely available to help consumers monitor their alcohol levels. Most personal devices at Breathalysers Australia have fuel cell sensors for high accuracy. Additionally, fuel cell sensors have a short preparation time and are not easily affected by previous results. It is the same technology that law enforcement uses in roadside screenings. Therefore, you may ascertain that you get reliable and valid BAC readings. You may choose from the wide array of BACtrack breathalysers that suits your needs.
Breathalysers Australia offers various alcohol breath testers with distinct features and functionalities. For instance, employees drinking at work after hours may avail smartphone breathalysers to help them monitor their BAC level conveniently. Smartphone breathalysers such as the BACtrack C6, C8 and Mobile Pro have Bluetooth connectivity to pair with most iOS, Android and Google devices. Moreover, they integrate the ZeroLine technology that quickly estimates when the BAC level will return to 0.00%. This feature is valuable in moderating consumption and ensuring the BAC is clear and safe for work. Alternatively, the Pro series of BACtrack, including the S80 Pro, Trace Pro, and Scout, are dependable devices for estimating the precise BAC level. Lastly, having a reliable breathalyser effectively lowers the risks for drink driving or workplace accidents.