Workplace drug and alcohol education a festive reminder

The lead up to the festive season can be a risky time for workplaces, with social events creating more opportunities for employees to come to work under the influence.

What’s the best present you can give your workers this festive season? A financial bonus, a social event, letting them off early one day or a thoughtful gift? How about workplace drug and alcohol education?

While any time is an ideal time to educate your workforce on the dangers of drugs and alcohol, no time is perhaps better than the festive season. With more social opportunities in the lead up to Christmas and New Year, there is a potential increase in the risk for employees to come to work under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

It’s the season for getting intoxicated

There is much research that highlights the rise in the use of alcohol and drugs at this time of the year. This includes:

  • A study funded by VicHealth that shows that acute intoxication rises at this time of the year. It’s not entirely a Christmas phenomenon, however. There’s a significant increase in alcohol-related incidents in the lead up to most public holidays.
  • The study also found that this time of the year is amongst the busiest for emergency services to respond to alcohol intoxication. The key months, in order, are December, November, February and March.
  • A study in NSW found that December is regularly the month for the highest number of alcohol-related presentations to emergency departments.
  • There’s also anecdotal evidence that the period after Christmas and the summer holidays is the busiest for rehabilitation services. Addiction experts say this is due to people who self-medicate and over-indulge during the preceding period.

Workplace drug and alcohol education the key

Most employees want to act responsibly and refrain from attending work while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Therefore, it is crucial to reinforce awareness of the associated risks by providing workplace drug and alcohol education.

This education should include:

  • General health information on the risks of alcohol and drug use.
  • A summary of how drug and alcohol use can affect job performance.
  • The safety risks of being impaired in the workplace.
  • An explanation of your workplace’s drug and alcohol policy.
  • Employee responsibilities and duty of care to come to work in a safe condition.
  • Details of any drug and alcohol testing your workplace conducts.
  • What employees should do if they suspect a co-worker is under the influence.

If you’re looking for help to educate your employees, Integrity Sampling runs a range of education sessions. This includes shorter education training aimed at employees and a slightly longer session for managers and supervisors. These types of sessions are ideal for the run-up to the fast approaching festive season.

Contact Integrity Sampling for more information.

Organising a festive season work party

If you’re organising a festive season party for your business, here are some tips from the Alcohol & Drug Foundation to make it an enjoyable and safe event:

  1. Hold your event during the day, rather than at night.
  2. Hold your event at a venue like an escape room, bowling alley or park, rather than a bar.
  3. Make sure your event includes food to help people who are drinking from getting drunk too quickly.
  4. Always ensure a selection of non-alcoholic drinks is offered.
  5. Plan activities such as karaoke, sports, lawn bowls, trivia, dancing or games to give employees a focus other than drinking.
  6. Impose a limit on the bar tab or amount of alcohol purchased.


The lead up to the festive season can be a risky time for workplaces, with social events creating more opportunities for employees to come to work under the influence.

By Michael

Michael is the founder of Integrity Sampling and is responsible for overseeing all national operations. He is based at Integrity Sampling's head office in Melbourne and is also responsible for the co-ordination of drug and alcohol testing within Victoria, assisting in the implementation of drug and alcohol (fit for work) policies and the presentation of drug and alcohol education and awareness programs. You can connect with Michael Wheeldon on LinkedIn

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