Breath screening tool for employers launched to save £6.4 billion annual cost of workplace hangovers

HR Editorial , 11 Jan 2012


Each day over 140,000 people go into work with a hangover with a cumulative impact of £6.4 billion cost to the UK economy, triggering the launch of employee breath screening technology in workplaces.

Alcohol misuse is estimated to cost UK business £48,000 every minute. But unlike other schemes that often penalise and cause mistrust amongst employees, this programme is designed to create positive sustainable changes in group behaviour across the whole organisation.

BreathScan alcohol screening and the thinking, programmes and products to encourage broader, positive changes in attitudes to responsible alcohol consumption. The company already works with Governments and a variety of businesses across the world, having completed a successful pilot with the US military.

The FIA (Fitness Industry Association) has welcomed the UK launch of the BreathScan programme as an important new way to trigger changes to healthier lifestyles. The FIA has joined up with fitness equipment manufacturer Johnson Health Tech UK Ltd to help pilot the scheme.

David Stalker, CEO, FIA, said: "Alcohol misuse is corrosive on good health in the UK. An approach that challenges the drinking culture may well have much wider positive benefits to general wellbeing. That's why we are supportive of the BreathScan programme and we are embracing this pilot with Johnson Health Tech."

MD of Johnson Health Tech Jon Johnston, added: "Alcohol is so widely and readily available now, it's become important for people to gain a better understanding of when and how much alcohol can be safely consumed without causing a risk to themselves or others.

"Of course this is obvious, but we're certainly not on a mission to promote abstinence, we are genuinely committed to encouraging positive long term change. Whilst alcohol isn't a major issue within our own business, as an employer we have a duty of care towards our staff. As a leader in the health and wellbeing sector, we also want to help and encourage the wider population to embrace a healthy lifestyle. Appropriate consumption is key to both aspects."

According to the CIPD some 10 million UK employees drink more than the recommended weekly guidelines. Despite over 77% of employers identifying alcohol as a major threat to employee wellbeing over 40% of employers don't have alcohol policies and most, (84%), don't run health awareness programmes for their staff.


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What about support?

Tony Regent 15 Jan 2012

The article is correct in informing us about cost in terms of working days lost. However support must be offered because valuable experience may be lost simply by writing off staff that may have alcohol problems. I am impressed with the system of support offered by the London Underground to it's staff.

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