Risky drinking habits in construction

Why addressing issue is crucial for workplace health and safety

Risky drinking habits in construction
Mia Barnes

Excessive drinking can impact a person’s health and their professional life. With alcohol-related casualties rising in Canada, it’s essential for employers to know how to address potential alcohol misuse. This is especially important in industries like construction, where worker safety is paramount.

Benefits of addressing risky drinking

Here’s why it’s important to address potential substance misuse in the workplace.

  1.  Improved workplace safety

When carried over into the workplace, an alcohol addiction can create problems, such as conflicts with co-workers, theft and liability issues.

When you address substance use, you promote a safe workplace for everyone. Employees are more likely to perform best in a secure environment.

  1. Lower turnover rate

Most employees who struggle with risky drinking habits get laid off, which impacts the company’s profitability and might overwhelm the remaining staff with more work.

Taking action and supporting employees who may be facing alcohol addiction can help you retain staff. Then, you can save costs associated with recruitment and training.

  1.  Increased productivity

Substance use cost Canada’s economy $49.1 billion in 2020, with alcohol accounting for more than 40% of the total costs. This loss resulted in reduced work productivity, premature retirement, more absences and sick days, and on-the-job injuries.

The construction industry is highly competitive, which means it’s essential to keep the processes as efficient and productive as possible. Investing in solutions that can help assess and support the recovery of workers with risky drinking habits boosts the company’s profitability.

Moreover, productivity also plays a role in quality control. It means people can make better decisions while working on the site.

Indicators of substance misuse in a construction workplace

Construction processes, especially on sites, require alertness and accuracy. Watch out for these general indicators of alcohol misuse among employees:

  • Impaired judgment
  • Sleepiness or drowsiness
  • Slowed reflexes
  • Impaired motor function

How employers can help address this

Company and team leaders are responsible for protecting their people's safety. If you’re looking for ways to help out an employee dealing with substance misuse, consider implementing these solutions:

  1. Offer training workshops

Provide educational opportunities to foster good health habits and safe behaviours in the workplace. Invest in workshops or courses that provide an understanding of what alcohol misuse is and the workplace issues associated with it. You can also design a program that helps spot warning signs and constructive response methods.

  1. Offer employee assistance programs (EAPs)

These are valuable resources for construction employees dealing with issues, including substance use. EAPs provide counselling, educational resources and referrals to help employees manage personal and workplace issues. Through these programs, you can address problems leading to low productivity and morale.

  1. Create a culture of health

Create a positive culture of health in your company. Encourage employees to practice healthy habits by implementing an alcohol-free work policy, mental health breaks and fitness challenges.

Support struggling employees

Armed with strategies and understanding, you can do your part in helping out a worker struggling with alcohol use disorder. Remember, each individual’s journey is unique — your patience and support will go a long way. By doing these solutions, you contribute to the person’s personal growth and the company's success.