Inform workers about the dangers of high-risk drinking

A recent study by Caron Treatment Centers, a nonprofit organization, found most Americans are unaware of what overindulgence in alcohol looks like. When employees drink too much at holiday parties, the safety of the entire workplace may be put at risk. From drinking and driving to exhibiting aggressive behavior, alcohol is a significant occupational hazard. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is considered binge drinking when men have five or more drinks and women have four or more drinks within two hours. High-risk drinking may cause unintentional injuries like falling and intentional accidents like sexual violence. Drinking too much also may result in alcohol poisoning and liver damage.

The study found there is a misconception of what constitutes high-risk drinking, which the study defined as going past the low-risk limit of four drinks. The study was conducted by Harris Interactive and surveyed 1,968 workers of at least 21 years of age. Of the survey’s respondents, 80% said they had attended a work party and 32% said they believe it’s fine to have three or more drinks as long as the person can “hold their liquor” and not drive. In addition, 60% said they had seen co-workers act inappropriately under the influence of alcohol at office parties, such as slapping a colleague’s backside, and 30% reported they noticed employees arguing with managers.

“Alcohol is still the No. 1 cause of damaging behavior at holiday celebrations throughout the U.S.,” said Dr. Harris Stratyner, regional clinical vice president of Caron Treatment Centers. “It’s a serious public safety concern when 60% of adults who attend holiday parties witnessed dangerous and even illegal behavior.”

This study highlights the workforce may need further guidance about healthy and safe alcohol consumption. Employers may want to educate workers about what high-risk drinking means and the consequences of binge drinking.

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