Alcohol and drugs in the workplace

With the right policy in place, you can help prevent problems with alcohol and drugs abuse in the workplace. The illicit use of drugs and alcohol can have a substantial impact not only on the employee in question but also on co-workers, the entire organisation, and society. By clearly outlining the associated risks, you can develop effective prevention measures and establish clear agreements with all your workers.


Alcohol and drug abuse poses a number of risks on the safety and health of workers. Not only does it produce an adverse effect in terms of output and performance, it also impacts their interaction with colleagues and increases overall absenteeism rates. In addition, alcohol and drug abuse increases the risk of accidents and conflicts.

Pursuant to the Well-Being Act, all employers are required by law to take the necessary steps to prevent these adverse consequences. In doing so, the emphasis should not be on imposing sanctions but rather on prevention. Analysing the situation is the first step towards establishing a clear policy, informing workers and conducting regular assessments.

Alcohol in the workplace: statistics

The World Health Organisation (WHO) acknowledges that alcohol abuse can have detrimental effects on operational efficiency and the safety of workers. At the same time,  alcohol abuse can lead to a wide variety of social, psychological and medical problems.

  • Estimates show that expenses related to combating alcohol abuse in the workplace amount to 2.2 billion euros each year in Belgium alone.
  • This is 36% of the estimated health-related cost burden on society.
  • According to a study conducted by the International Labour Office (ILO) in 2003, alcohol abuse is a contributing factor in approximately 40% of occupational accidents. The percentage of problematic drinkers among the working population is estimated – depending on the definition used – at 1 to 10%.
  • Studies also indicate that productivity levels among workers who have a serious alcohol problem are likely to decrease by up to 75%.

    Source: Alcohol and other drugs: A manual for workplace prevention policies – Psychosocial risks

Potential effects of alcohol or drug abuse

  • Regularly arriving late at work
  • Frequent absences or illnesses
  • Making the wrong decisions
  • Decreased performance
  • Decreased quality of work
  • Increased risk of occupational injuries
  • Deterioration of interpersonal relations at work
  • Negative perception of the company among clients
  • Reason for dismissal

Mensura will advise you

  • Raise awareness among workers about the adverse effects of alcohol and drugs in the workplace.
  • Promote greater awareness among managers and supervisors about the associated risks and provide them with the tools and resources to intervene in a timely manner when there are signs of potential alcohol or drug abuse.
  • Ask the prevention advisor or external department to perform an assessment. Based on the assessment, a better prevention policy can then be developed.
  • Ensure that your workers are self-reliant.
    Being able to recognise (early) symptoms of alcohol or drug abuse is the first step towards self-management or seeking help.


Mensura can assist you with:

  • performing an analysis on alcohol and drug abuse in the workplace
  • identifying signs of potential alcohol or drug abuse problems, and responding in a proactive manner
  • establishing an effective policy to combat alcohol and drug abuse in your organisation
  • developing a roadmap for a personalised approach, referrals and reintegration
  • preventing or reducing psychosocial stress caused by alcohol or drug abuse

Mensura will train your employees

Investing in a solid prevention policy for workplace alcohol and drug abuse will most certainly benefit your company. Mensura offers a number of interactive training courses that will help you get started with developing a policy for the prevention of alcohol and drug abuse in your workplace, ranging from in-company training to open sessions.

Training courses on alcohol and drugs

Training course: Alcohol and drugs in the workplace

Training and support for confidential advisors