Workplace Alcohol Testing

Workplace Alcohol Testing

James Gunter

"Lost productivity due to alcohol use costs the UK economy more than £7 billion annually, & an estimated 167,000 working years are lost to alcohol every year." 

Did you know that "most alcohol-related workplace incidents are not caused by very heavy drinkers, but by more moderate ones? - This is because just one small drink of alcohol can impair concentration & affect reaction times. Moreover, most people are unaware of the number of units they consume, or how long alcohol remains in their body" [1]

Putting a Spotlight on the Issue

These days, alcohol abuse is an all too common problem in the workplace. - And the scope of the issue is enormous as it involves countless businesses and industries across the length and breath of the UK and the Republic of Ireland. With billions of pounds going down the drain in annual revenue, a totally unacceptable number of workdays lost, substantially reduced productivity, and the risk of serious accidents cause by employees under the influence of alcohol; companies are now taking positive action, and implementing regular on-site alcohol testing with leading reputable companies such as Drug Testing Kits UK.

 "People may attend work hungover or still under the influence from the night before; consume alcohol before work, or during the day; or be affected at work by health problems resulting from drinking" [1]

Examples include:

  • 40% of employers acknowledge alcohol as a substantial driver for low productivity
  • 3% to 5% of all work absenteeism is due to alcohol consumption
  • 35% of employees state that they have witnessed colleagues under the influence of alcohol in the workplace
  • 25% of employees state that either alcohol or drugs have impacted them in the workplace, with 23% noting that as a result, they experienced decreased productivity

Being under the influence of alcohol, puts the health and safety of everyone in the workplace at risk. - And this includes members of the general public who may be visiting, or passing nearby. - So now let's take a look at how to spot alcohol abuse in the workplace.

Although spotting colleagues and employees under the influence of alcohol, is not a particularly easy task, there are nonetheless, a few obvious signs to look out for. - However, these individual signs are not necessarily evidence of alcohol abuse, alone, which is why the use of high quality, accurate, workplace drug testing kits, such as the ones offered by Drug Testing Kits UK, are so crucial to the smooth running, health and safety concerns, and reputation of a company.

If an employee displays two or more of the following symptoms, then they may potentially have an issue with alcohol. In such cases, a workplace alcohol test is essential to determine whether there is any alcohol abuse on the part of the employee.


  • Smelling of alcohol (this can emanate from the breath and/or the skin
  • Bloodshot or puffy eyes
  • Irrational conduct
  • Lethargic
  • A dishevelled appearance
  • An unsteady gait
  • Staggering, or not walking in the straight direction
  • Tremors (for example, shaky hands)
  • Aggressive attitude
  • Temper tantrums
  • Working slower than usual
  • Being late
  • Slurring speech
  • Dosing off when he/she/they should be working
  • Taking days off work due to ill health

Facing Facts & Taking Action

Consuming alcohol, be it in copious amounts on rare occasions, or in small amounts frequently, can seriously impact an employee's health and functioning. In fact, its effect is so overpowering, that the brain, liver, heart, and digestive system, react in a way that is highly detrimental for productivity and interaction with colleagues, not to mention the risk of causing an accident.

  • Alcohol impedes brain functioning, especially the regions connected with behaviour and perception
  • The brain's communication pathways are also impaired
  • Heart damage due to a stroke; cardiomyopathy, arrhythmia, and high blood pressure, can all come about from consuming too much alcohol, and partaking in it over a long period of time
  • Alcohol can also generate serious liver issues such as alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), fibrosis, and long-term inflammation
  • It can cause pancreatitis (swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas, which limits food digestion)

The Bottom Line: Impact of Alcohol in the Workplace

Taking into account the seriousness of the aforementioned, and the risks to the running of, and the health and safety of the workplace, there is zero doubt that the need to implement regular drug testing is imperative. When an employer takes on new employees, they have no way of knowing whether the new person has an alcohol issue. Moreover, this issue could arise for the first time after they have commenced their employment. In any event, it is highly likely that employees with this issue, will be regularly late for work, be consistently absent, and underperform. The latter is generally due to bad decision-making and lack of efficiency; not to mention being a poor, unreliable team player.

Further, when employees are intoxicated, it impacts their vehicle driving ability, and machine operation. - Both of whichmake workplace injuries and accidents more likely. In addition to this, potential fatalities, and alcohol-linked injuries in the workplace, result in heavy compensation claims, and massive litigation fees. And if the incident is very grave, it may be reported in one of the mainstream tabloids which reach out to millions of people, and such an article is likely to be shared countless times. In some cases, the severe loss of business can render even a long-established company, bankrupt.

Cutting-Edge Alcohol Testing Solutions For Your Workplace

Drug Testing UK offers the best Alcohol Testing Kits on the market. And most importantly, they are manufactured for specific use in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. To that end, there is a Buyer's Beware caution, as workplace alcohol and drug testing kits which are manufactured in the US, and thus not subject to UK and Republic of Ireland standards, are frequently sold on websites ending, just to confuse people. So let's have a look at the best of the best on offer:

Intoximeter Alco-Sensor FST Breathalyser

Regarded as the leading state-of-the-art, most accurate alcohol test on the market, the Alco-Sensor FST Breathalyser (which is manufactured by Intoximeter, a company which has lead the alcohol testing industry for 70-plus years), is highly recommended by professionals. Moreover, it is used by countless law enforcement and police agencies.

Ease of Use & Convenience

This breathalyser is engineered to empower companies with a super simple, passive testing procedure, that poses minimal risk to the operator, due to its easy mode of operation. It is ideal for the workplace in countless industries, where rapid screening of a substantial number of employees can be done without having to change mouthpieces. - This convenience is due to the benefits of the Passive Cup attachment.

Another great benefit is the fact that the Alco-Sensor FST Breathalyser has the means to measure the air (head space) over a solution. - This is done by utilising an attachment named the Drink Sniffer. To that end, this incredibly simple procedure can ascertain whether or not any alcohol is present in a suspected open container.

Special Features

Contrary to some of the inferior breathalysers on the market, the Alco-Sensor FST Breathalyser has been engineered to provide full operator safety. To that end, the breathalyser's rear facing display, and symmetric design, empowers the operator to:

  • Remain in control of the employee being tested
  • Easily see the instrument's display
  • Observe the surrounding environment, and deviate the employee’s breath, so that they are not directly within the breath stream while the process of sample collection is being administered

Even More Advantages

Further advantages which are offered by the Alco-Sensor FST Breathalyser (one of Intoximeter's most outstanding products), include: optional messaging on a multi-colour backlit display - (this warns the operator about important test conditions); an illuminated mouthpiece guide, a 'lever and snap' mouthpiece insertion; and a backlit LCD display.


"Intoximeters fuel cell-based instruments set the global industry standard for 100 percent precision & accuracy"

The Alco-Sensor FST offers your company direct breath sample testing, any time, any where. Furthermore, this instrument is so simple to use, and the application procedure is so straight forward, that it does not need a professional operator. In fact, any selected employee could be called upon to administer the tests. The device delivers repeatable, accurate, and precise results, via

one of the best quality full cell (electrochemical) select sensors on the global market. Moreover, it is

engineered to strict specifications related to long-life, repeatability, and accuracy. Such linear and meticulous alcohol testing devices, deliver seamless output. - Something which generates clear grade analysis. It has proved excellent for both disciplinary and non-disciplinary (e.g. in the workplace) screening applications, making it the ideal device to test employees. The quality of the Intoximeter Alco-Sensor FST Breathalyser is unsurpassed, and it can be looked after by storing it in the accompanying hard carry case.


[1]. Alcohol Change (2020). "Alcohol in the Workplace."