DEKRA Survey on Addiction in the Workplace by forsa

Alcohol in the Workplace Remains a Taboo Issue

Oct 31, 2019

Almost half of companies in Germany apparently ignore the dangers of addiction in the workplace. Almost one in two employees (49 percent) state that their company does not provide any awareness-raising sessions or information about the dangers of alcohol and drugs in the workplace. This is highlighted in a recent nationwide DEKRA survey by the forsa institute. One in three employees knows a colleague who drinks alcohol during working hours. Promising concepts have been developed aimed at tackling the dangers of addiction at work and the consequences of addiction.

  • Alcohol consumption at work is not uncommon in many companies
  • Operational health management can offer prevention and help
  • DEKRA at the A+A trade fair in Düsseldorf from November 5 to 8, 2019
According to health insurance companies, around four million employed people in Germany drink harmful levels of alcohol that could potentially lead to illness or dependency. This equates to around one in ten workers – or around 160,000 employees – who are likely dependent on alcohol. On behalf of the expert organization DEKRA, forsa conducted a representative survey of 1,003 employees, workers and civil servants on the subject of addiction in the workplace in the run-up to the A+A occupational health and safety trade fair in Düsseldorf (November 5 to 8, 2019).

More than a third (36 percent) of the respondents stated that they know colleagues in their company who drink alcohol during working hours. Eleven percent even said that some colleagues like to indulge on a regular basis. Twenty-five percent said that colleagues occasionally drink alcohol during working hours – for example on special occasions. Fifty-three percent of the respondents stated that, to their knowledge, none of their colleagues drink alcohol during working hours in their company. Just below half (49 percent) said that the issue of alcohol and drugs is not addressed in training sessions.

“Alcohol at work and addiction are taboo issues in many companies,” says Dr. Karin Müller, Manager of DEKRA’s People and Health division. “Supervisors are usually afraid to actively address the issue, despite the fact that addiction lowers employee performance and increases the risk of accidents at work.” DEKRA is therefore advising that companies train and sensitize managers and employees to the problem of addiction as a preventive measure within the framework of occupational health management. The occupational medical care team can also provide support here.

“Unfortunately, some working conditions involve unhealthy levels of stress that, in turn, may encourage addiction,” says DEKRA psychologist Dr Karin Müller. In such cases, the employer is obligated to identify unhealthy working conditions as part of the statutory psychological risk assessment and bring about changes to improve these conditions.

For 55 percent of those surveyed by forsa on behalf of DEKRA, alcohol is completely forbidden during working hours. Thirty-six percent say that alcohol consumption is permitted during working hours only on certain occasions like birthday parties or anniversaries. Only a minority – 3 percent – of those surveyed stated that they were allowed to drink alcohol during working hours.

DEKRA at A+A 2019
At the international trade fair A+A, which will be taking place in Düsseldorf from November 5 to 8, 2019, DEKRA will be showcasing its comprehensive range of services for protection, safety and health at work. This includes occupational safety, workplace health management/promotion, training sessions and courses, medicines at work and when driving, services related to hazardous substances, certifications and concepts for a consistent corporate and safety culture.
Hall 10, stand D48

DEKRA at the A+A Congress 2019: “practical and interactive”
DEKRA experts will be in attendance at the A+A Congress 2019. On October 6 and 7, a new practical and interactive format will offer an additional way for experts to get talking to each other.

DEKRA will be organizing two themed islands:
  • The first, which is scheduled for Wednesday, November 6, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the CCD South foyer (second floor, location no. 5), will focus on psychological health awareness and look at the embedding of psychological risk assessments in workplace health management.
  • On Thursday, November 7, the focus will be on Workplace 4.0. Together with its partner DearEmployee, DEKRA will be discussing the benefits of digital psychological risk assessments. This event will also take place from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the CCD South foyer (second floor, location no. 5).