A research project into the feasibility of alcohol brief interventions (or 'IBA') in the workplace has shown that opportunities to deliver IBA do exist - though may have limitations and are not without barriers.
A project delivered by the North London alcohol hub saw hundreds of workplace roles - ranging from senior managers to staff supervisors - trained in alcohol awareness and how to deliver 'Identification and Brief Advice' (IBA). Roles completed pre and post-training surveys to assess their attitude and knowledge around alcohol use.
An independent evaluation by the University of Middlesex (download full report here) found that the training resulted in many roles going on to deliver IBA, or at least discuss alcohol with colleagues or share information and resources.
However whilst some roles such as Occupational Health workers or health leads were readily able to integrate IBA into their work, many managers were not generally confident about delivering routine IBA with staff. Nonetheless, many did feel that training increased their confidence to discuss alcohol use and make use of opportunities such as through return to work interviews.
Another issue facing the success of the IBA training was managers focusing soley on existing alcohol problems within the workforce, such as where alcohol dependence was causing or linked to poor performance or absenteeism. The project in fact aimed to emphasise that whilst proper alcohol policies and responses were needed to address existing problems, IBA offered the opportunity to improve employees' health and prevent future alcohol problems in at-risk drinkers.
An event took place in Covent Garden in October to launch the report - presentations available here. A briefing paper on Alcohol & the workplace was also produced, highlighting the importance of early intervention and workplace policies in reducing the health and business impact of alcohol misuse.