Business: Small Talk - Way to Avoid Accidents Caused by Too Much Bottle

By Goodman, Fay | The Birmingham Post (England), August 25, 1999 | Go to article overview
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Business: Small Talk - Way to Avoid Accidents Caused by Too Much Bottle


Goodman, Fay, The Birmingham Post (England)


Did you know one-in-five accidents, and more than half of fatal accidents in the workplace, are alcohol-related?

Just a small amount of alcohol can cause lack of co-ordination and concentration, impaired eyesight, and slower reaction times - all of which all increase the risk of an accident.

The cost to industry of alcohol misuse, while difficult to quantify, has been estimated at pounds 3 billion a year through accidents, reduced productivity and absenteeism, according to the Medical Council on Alcoholism.

Other costs include health, relationships and job prospects.

And there is more.

Hangovers not only give us a nasty headache but cost industry between pounds 53 million and pounds 108 million per annum. Now that is a real pain.

In an attempt to raise awareness of the implications of alcohol in the workplace, the Medical Council on Alcoholism has issued a new publication to raise attention and concern over the serious repercussions of having "one too many".

Somehow, the copious consumption of alcohol continues to be synonymous with business culture.

Just signed a contract with your customer? - let's drink to that.

We've exceeded sales targets for the year - how about a liquid lunch?

You cannot escape from drink. It is ingrained in our social and work fabric, be it a get-together with your pals or the formalities of corporate hospitality.

The implications of misjudgment can be far reaching if we are not aware of the dangers of drink.

Can you imagine making an impulsive decision to sign a contract, shout at a subordinate or make a silly remark, slur words over the telephone or trip up in a board meeting?

Large companies have the time and resources to implement management police on alcohol.

Small businesses do not, but the need to take alcohol in the workplace seriously is still vital. Designing a policy, ensuring there are effective procedures, and giving sensible guidance are essential.

We need to feel confident in our own ability and also that of our employees, therefore being in control of all our faculties is essential. To run a successful business we need to be on the ball not "on the wagon".

The influence of drink could cost a business the loss of existing and potential clients following one rude comment, an incorrect response to an order - in fact, a myriad of mistakes and misjudgements arise due to alcohol.

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