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Alcohol Concern has recently written to Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, to call for greater focus on alcohol issues in the workplace, which have a major negative impact on productivity.

Lost productivity and absenteeism because of alcohol was shown to cost the economy 14 million working days and up to £6.4bn each year, when it was last researched by the Government, and businesses need to do more to help change employees’ attitudes to alcohol. Around

10 million men and women in England drink above the recommended guidelines, and every day, around 200,000 people go to work in the UK with a hangover.

Under the Corporate Governance Code, listed companies must provide a framework for risk to be assessed and managed and ensure the necessary human resources are in place to meet business objectives and obligations to shareholders. Alcohol Concern argues that an effective alcohol policy is a material component of business strategy and that,

as employees are a key business asset, Boards should have a formal responsibility to address financial losses incurred through their reduced performance caused by alcohol. By failing to do this, and in many cases to even recognise the impact of alcohol misuse, Boards are neither complying with the spirit or the letter of the Code.

Alcohol Concern’s Chief Executive, Eric Appleby, commented: “Companies simply have to address attitudes to alcohol and drinking behaviours - it is

costing the economy billions every year. The evidence is that Boards are not taking the issue seriously and that’s why we are calling on the Government to include alcohol policy as a specific requirement under the Corporate Governance Code. This will help improve the wellbeing of employees, and at the same time, improve efficiency and productivity.”


New research released by RSA, the UK’s largest commercial insurer, reveals that a staggering one in four business drivers are being put under pressure to get to appointments on time and meet ambitious sales or delivery targets, leading to dangerous and in some cases illegal driving practices.

• A fifth of business drivers exceed the speed limit, and as many as one in 10 drive through red lights to get to appointments on time or meet targets.

• Sales reps are the most dangerous business drivers, but van drivers are more likely to ignore vehicle faults and haulage drivers are not given enough time to sleep between shifts.


• Business drivers in Scotland are more likely to drive dangerously for work purposes than any other region.

• Men driving for work purposes are significantly more likely to drive dangerously than women.

The study examines the extent to which businesses and their employees are turning a blind eye to road safety as they try to cope with increased pressure to perform post-recession. The findings show that a fifth of business drivers exceed the speed limit, while one in 10 drive through red lights, undertake slow vehicles or drive when tired. In addition, as many as one in seven answer work calls while driving without using hands-free equipment, more than a third eat and drink on the

move and a fifth smoke behind the wheel.

The study also questions the roadworthiness of some business vehicles. Almost a third of workers say they have driven with a blown light or faulty windscreen wipers, around a fifth have ignored a cracked windscreen – potentially impairing their vision – and more than one in 10 have

driven with a slow puncture.

With as many as a third of road traffic accidents involving someone driving for work, amounting to a £10 billion cost to the UK economy every year, dangerous driving while working is not just a serious safety issue but also a significant business, social and economic issue. 

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