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02/09/2013

Eurocare submits its reply to the EU occupational safety and health policy framework

In its response Eurocare has highlighted the need to focus on prevention of alcohol related harm at the workplace.

Harmful and hazardous alcohol consumption is one of the main causes of premature death and avoidable disease and has a negative impact on working capacity. Alcohol- related absenteeism or drinking during working hours have a negative impact on work performance, competitiveness and productivity. Often forgotten is the impact of drinkers on the productivity of people other than the drinker. Moreover, about 20 - 25% of all accidents at work involve intoxicated people injuring themselves and other victims, including co-workers

Eurocare highlighted that investing in a healthy workforce is proven to bring productivity return on investment, working towards better prevention programes is the best investment into future savings. Alcohol is the world’s number one risk for ill-health and premature death among the 25-59 year old age group, a core of the working age population and the third leading risk for burden of disease in Europe.

Europeans are drinking almost the double of global average. In EU 28 the average recorded consumption of alcohol is 10,2 litres. This results in 120.000 premature deaths (1 in 7 male deaths and 1 in 13 female deaths in the age group 15 - 64 are related to alcohol). Alcohol is 1 of 4 risk factors for developing non communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Alcohol harm is disproportionately high among young people and alarmingly 43% among 15-16 year old European students reported heavy binge drinking during the past 30 days; alcohol is the single biggest cause of death among young men of age 16 to 24.

Furthermore, one in five workers suffer from a mental illness, such as depression or anxiety and many are struggling to cope. A person diagnosed of alcohol use disorder is at risk of losing their job, as people with alcohol addiction are generally not protected by workplace discrimination laws. This has proven an obstacle to improve early detection of alcohol use disorders (only 15% diagnosed). Alcohol dependent people are therefore a vulnerable group.

Read full Eurocare response to the public consultation to EU occupational safety and health policy framework

Register for the Alcohol Policies at the Workplace Conference