General News

Research reveals many admit to being drunk or high at work

Besi Besemar May 14, 2015

WEB.600.5A survey carried out for a national health and safety law consultancy claims that significant numbers of workers are under the influence of drugs and alcohol while at work.

NEARLY a third of workers questioned admitted using drugs at work, while 85% said they’d been drunk when on duty. surveyed over 2,600 workers in office, factory, retail and the public sector, and found:

•       28% admitted using drugs at work, including so-called ‘legal highs’, cannabis and other illegal narcotics.

•       5% of factory workers said they had used machinery after using drugs.

•       85% admitted to being drunk at work in the last year.

•       31% admitted to being drunk at work, or having their capacity to work significantly diminished through alcohol at least once per week.

•       14% of factory workers said they would drink alcohol at lunchtime and then operate machinery in the afternoon.

The survey found that office workers were more likely to be drunk at work, while those working in retail or public-facing jobs were more likely to be sober.

Of 40 people who listed their jobs as driver, none said they drank or took drugs at work

According to the survey’s commissioners, the lunchtime drinking session has never gone away, costing British companies millions of pounds per year in lost productivity, with workers often defying company rules as well as health and safety regulations.

The research also shows that the majority of those who admitted taking drugs at work thought the practice was “harmless” and no different from smoking a cigarette. Some said they took drugs to relieve the tension of working all day, while others blamed boredom, saying it helped the day to go faster. says that drug-taking at work is a growing factor in workplace accidents, contributing to injuries, compensation claims and loss of production.  Age also appears to be a factor, with 90% of those who admitted to using drugs being under 30 years old.

But the survey shows that it’s still the lunch-time pint-or-three that remains one of the biggest causes of UK workplace accidents, with regular drinkers thinking they can handle their liquid lunch while in reality their speed and quality of work deteriorates after they’ve had a drink. In worse case scenarios, accidents caused by alcohol can be cited as factors in numerous cases of injury or even death. spokesperson Mark Hall, says: “bosses need to be clear with their employees that drug use and drunkenness are unacceptable at work, and need to be seen to be enforcing their policies.

“This doesn’t mean a stream of sackings (though) that’s one of the options on the table.

“Business owners should also be able to offer assistance to problem drinkers and drug users – perfectly good workers should be helped back to an even keel.”