Alcohol Awareness Week 2014

To mark Alcohol Awareness Week, East of England businesses involved in Business Action on Public Health have produced a range of case studies highlighting how they are working to raise awareness of alcohol in the workplace.

Alcohol Awareness Week is sponsored by Alcohol Concern, and was created to raise awareness of alcohol issues and the impact they can have on people's health and communities.

Stansted Airport and TEN Group have produced the following case studies to highlight the work they are doing to raise awareness of alcohol and drug misuse amongst their workforce:

London Stansted Airport

London Stansted Airport Ltd, as part of the Manchester Airport Group (M.A.G.) is the fourth busiest airport in the UK.  It handles around 19 million passengers and per year, and is London's fastest growing airport.

Allison Irvin at Stansted AirportWith approximately 10,000 personnel operating in and around the site (including 2,000 direct employees) London Stansted is committed to eliminate the risk of both injury and serious long term harm to health to everyone working at their site, via the provision of support and continued education in health and wellbeing programmes.

STAL’s Health & Safety Team, headed by Philip Sparham & Allison Irvin as key leaders in the development of occupational health and wellbeing strategies at Stansted, has implemented a new programme specifically aimed at tackling the negative impacts of alcohol misuse across the wider airport community.

 The Vision Zero 7 Step Alcohol Awareness Programme is the first health programme aimed at key third Party stakeholders in addition to London Stansted’s own employees.  It represents a commitment to provide information, support and guidance on the potential impacts of alcohol misuse.

A series of site activities have taken place already in support of the programme with further activities planned, including:

  • Tool-box talks and practical demonstrations on safe drinking limits across site.

  • Provision of information materials & guidance on the health effects of alcohol.

  • On-site health screening services.

  • A dedicated Vision Zero Alcohol Awareness Month scheduled for December 2014.

Participation in a recent two day Airside Safety Event proved to be a great success, attended by over 200 Airside workers including baggage handlers, aircrew, aircraft re-fuellers and ground service operatives.
The Health & Safety Team’s What’s your Poison? Alcohol Measuring Station proved a popular area of focus, promoting responsible drinking as an alternative to abstinence, with some interactive fun and information on alcohol units, strength, and effects on the body, dispelling many of the myths held around alcohol use.

Participation in activities such as these has ensured that the Vision Zero 7 Step Alcohol Awareness Programme has not only resulted in greater engagement from employees and key third party stakeholders in addressing alcohol issues across the whole of the Airport community but also offered the benefits of an effective tool for further communication and signposting of external support services.

TEN Group

The TEN Group is a Federation of educational institutions within Norfolk.  The Group has been proactive in highlighting issues of drugs and alcohol misuse with staff within City College Norwich by running Drugs and Alcohol awareness sessions.  The sessions, which are voluntary and last around one hour, are aimed at encouraging staff to consider their alcohol consumption and making them aware of the effects alcohol could have on not only their health but also their employment.

Hilary Bright of TEN GroupWhilst the sessions themselves have been well-received and are thought-provoking and informative, the subsequent discussions between staff who have attended the sessions has proved the most useful with colleagues able to discuss with other colleagues any concerns they may have.  One of the parts of the session that had the most impact was around how long it takes alcohol to leave the system and how many staff may not technically be ‘sober’ at work after a night out.

Because they're delivered in a fun and humorous way, the sessons don't lecture staff on their lifestyle, but let them take away key messages relevant to their own particular situation or those of students or colleagues they come into contact with.  Future sessions will be rolled out to other organisations in the TEN Group.

"This method of sharing information informally with staff and encouraging them to consider the effects alcohol may have on themselves and others has proved to be more effective than simply having a Drugs and Alcohol policy," explains Hilary Bright, Director of HR Services, TEN Group (pictured right).  "I would encourage other businesses to consider providing such sessions for their staff."