projects the-european-workplace-and-alcohol-project

The European Workplace and Alcohol project

The European Workplace and Alcohol project (EWA) is a European project co-financed by the European Commission running from 2011 to 2013.

EWA was a public/private sector partnership with the involvement of governmental and public sector organizations, public and private employers, non-governmental organizations, representatives of civil society, international networks representing global companies and employer and employee organizations, and trades unions.

The primary aim of EWA was to develop effective methods of engaging with workplaces, and their workforces, to raise awareness and bring about individual and organisational change that leads to safer alcohol consumption, and thus a reduction in alcohol-related absenteeism, presenteeism and injuries.

The project involved implementing practices in twelve European countries (Belgium, Spain (Catalonia), Croatia, England, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Romania, and Scotland).

Findings and evidence from the EWA project, including its review of the state of the art, case studies and pilot actions, inform EWA’s key recommendations at EU, national, regional and company/organisation levels. Alcohol policy should be a key priority for European, national, regional and public health agendas and EWA restates the importance of pursuing existing evidence-based recommendations, policies and laws to reduce alcohol consumption and harm, including advertising bans, taxation, minimum pricing and health information labels. Recommendations for EU, national and regional policy-makers public health policy and action should include a focus on workplaces as a setting for alcohol-related health promotion and support the widespread deployment of comprehensive alcohol policies; alcohol policy should incorporate raising awareness amongst companies/organisations and their representative bodies about the considerable impact that alcohol can have on safety, performance, productivity and reputation, and promote “alcohol-free” workplaces – where possible working with companies and organisations to utilise peer to peer methods of engagement.

EWA also recommends that companies and organisations should: adopt a comprehensive, written, alcohol workplace policy – for long-term impact; implement health-related alcohol programmes, as comprehensively as resources allow – including as part of a wider health and well-being agenda; pro-actively make their workplaces “alcohol-free”; review working practices and management styles that can cause stress and perpetuate or worsen heavy drinking; where they have experience of alcohol policies and interventions, consider acting as “champions” to engage other companies and organisations; utilise the EWA toolkit as good practice guidance for workplace policies and practice.

EWA Toolkit provides guidance for developing and implementing alcohol preventive interventions within workplace settings. It builds on evidence and good practice lessons derived from the DG SANCO funded European Workplace and Alcohol project. The toolkit has a specific focus on how employers and those working with workplaces can: improve workplace productivity and reduce absenteeism and presenteeism; reduce workplace accidents and make workplaces safer; raise awareness amongst employees about how, in relation to alcohol, they can live healthier lives and be more productive at work; support employees to change their alcohol-related behaviour to live more healthily during and outside working hours; help the adoption of a workplace culture that, with respect to alcohol, is supportive of healthier living and improved workplace performance.

The toolkit is aimed at a wide range of stakeholders including employers, occupational and workplace health professionals, trade union representatives, public health service providers, human resource managers and public health policymakers and commissioners. It highlights both how to establish effective alcohol preventive interventions that can benefit employees and employers and provides insight into the rationale for promoting and commissioning such interventions. It also flags up the key components for effective alcohol interventions in workplace settings. 

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