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Raising alcohol awareness in the workplace

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A new project to raise alcohol awareness in the workplace has launched across south London this November.

Alcohol Identification and Brief Advice (IBA) is an effective behaviour change intervention that prevents and reduces alcohol-related harm. IBA consists of a short questionnaire and provides tailored advice, allowing people to make more informed choices about their drinking, often leading to reduced alcohol consumption. Due to great health and wellbeing benefits, alcohol IBA is often advocated for in healthcare settings, but its potential scope is much wider.

Alcohol misuse can have major impact in the workplace, through absenteeism, presenteeism and workplace accidents. The Department of Health estimates that over a third of alcohol misuse cases impact on employers each year, making a strong case for intervening in this setting. Raising alcohol awareness and implementing IBA in the workplace is a great way to help address these issues, not to mention relieving the economic burden, and reaching a greater number of the population than we do at present.

The Health Innovation Network recently completed a successful in-house alcohol awareness campaign, and we want to build on this by expanding the project across workplaces in south London. Working with the Safe Sociable London Partnership, we are approaching public, private and charity sector organisations to take part, and will be training occupational health and human resources managers on how to deliver alcohol awareness programmes in the workplace. This includes providing a range of digital tools that give simple, effective, anonymous screening and brief advice. By closely evaluating the implementation process, we will produce recommendations to support organisations wishing to implement similar practices in their workplaces.

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