And with the problem looking set to increase as World Cup fever grips the nation, companies are being advised to put risk policies in place. The survey by insurance company Royal & Sun-Alliance quizzed full-time employees and company bosses and was carried out by YouGov.
It found that although the introduction of 24-hour drinking last year has not worsened the problem of morning-after drinking, there is an ongoing ‘cultural problem’ of people drinking alcohol during the working day.
With the approach of the World Cup, companies that have not yet done so are advised to introduce an alcohol policy, explaining why the policy exists, who it applies to, who is responsible for carrying it out, the rules, details of disciplinary actions that will be taken and help that is available to staff.
Phil Bell, liability technical manager at Royal & SunAlliance, said: ‘Our study reveals that there is an ongoing problem with alcohol in the workplace, even though the 24-hour drinking legislation has not increased this further. Employers can be held liable for accidents in the workplace and research shows that 20% to 25% of these are caused by alcohol.
‘Employers need to put risk controls and policies in place to ensure that they are providing a safe working environment for their employees, particularly with the World Cup approaching.
Encouragingly, 91% of the companies we surveyed did have an alcohol policy, but this still leaves 14,000 employers at risk.’
Companies are also offered advice on how to deal with the problem over the coming weeks.
They include showing World Cup games in the workplace, identifying those employees who are football fans and talking to them about their plans, consulting staff about any changes in company rules and closely monitoring whether there is a problem by looking at records on sickness absence, productivity, accident records and disciplinary procedures.
Bell added: ‘The effects of alcohol can be extensive, from an increased number of accidents in the workplace or lateness due to hangovers, through to impaired decision making and a poor image for customers or clients.
‘This can have an impact on everyone, especially sober colleagues who end up carrying the strain.’