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June 19, 2017

Alcoholism in the Workplace

South Africans consume over five billion litres of alcohol per year, according to a study by the Medical Research Council (MRC).

Alcoholism in the workplace is amongst a variety of contemporary social problems that affect the behaviour and success of people in the workplace, in this blog I focus on how to identify and respond to substance abuse in the workplace.

There are some clues that point to alcohol and possibly drug abuse in the workplace such as the following:

  • Indifference to personal hygiene;
  • Unexplained and frequent absences from work;
  • Overreaction to real or imagined criticism; and
  • Irregular work patterns and low productivity;

Many people don’t want to be the one who tells the boss that a co-worker has a drinking problem. I however believe that for them to receive the help that they need they should be reported, because unless managers know about the problem, they are unable to help by means of involving their employees in programmes that entail counselling and treatment.

If you are covering up for your fellow-employees, you are protecting them from the consequences of their drinking. This can be to their detriment and that of their family and their community in the long term.

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