workplace alcohol

Does your workplace have a drinking problem?

Last week’s Big Idea in the Fairfax media asked the question: Does your workplace have a drinking problem?

With alcohol consumption responsible for up to 11% of non-fatal injuries and 5% of all workplace deaths in Australia, the answer is pretty clear. Many Australian workplaces seem to have a problem.

What caught the eye of GrogWatch was the readers’ response to the Big Idea article.

Some readers pointed out that drinking is almost compulsory in some jobs:

“I work in sales, and it’s expected that we drink with our clients. Lots of insults if you don’t, or if you can’t keep up. While it’s all in jest, I wonder what would happen to my position if I wasn’t willing to get smashed with them.”

Another thought drinking at work just reflected life:

“If it’s just an office setting we’re talking about, no lives at stake then I don’t see the issue with drinking being part of the workplace culture. It’s part of our culture and society and it would be bizarre to not reflect that in daily work life.”

Some commentators agreed that particular workplaces are right to ban drinking:

“I work in the aerospace industry… If you get caught drinking during work hours, you’ll be lucky if you only lose your job and don’t get arrested….Or what about a surgeon about to perform a procedure? Why should you be allowed to have a couple of beers before scrubbing up and heading into the operating theatre?”

One reader complained about a culture of heavy drinking:

“At work functions …. senior staff would continue to buy rounds of beer and spirits well into the evening… I always thought that eventually someone was going to walk out of an event drunk, and the company would be held at least partially liable…”

But others think this is passing the buck rather than taking responsibility for their own actions:

“…it’s yet another example of the modern day epidemic of blame shifting and total lack of personal accountability. If I go to a work function and drink too much – it is solely my responsibility and nobody else’s.”

Check out the full article and comments.

Let us know about your experience.

  • Does your workplace have a drinking problem?
  • Has people drinking at work ever caused you a problem?
  • Can people bond at work without drinking?