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Institute of Preventive Medicine Environmental and Occupational Health
01/01/2011 - 30/11/2013 Completed

European Workplace Alcohol – EWA

European Commission: Public Health Program 2008 - 2013  

Prolepsis was an associated partner in the program titled “European Workplace and Alcohol – EWA”, which began on the 1st of January 2011. It was implemented under the program “2009 Public Health” of the European Directorate-General for Health and Consumer. Coordinator of the program was the agency GENCAT from Spain (Department of Health of the Government of Catalonia), while the consortium comprised of 17 universities and organizations from various European countries.

The general objective of the program was the development of effective methods of engaging with workplaces, and their workforces, to raise awareness and bring about organizational and individual change that lead to safer alcohol consumption, and thus a reduction in alcohol-related absenteeism, presenteeism and injuries. This would be achieved through the development and dissemination of a practical and robust cross-cultural tool-kit able to support the delivery of workplace-based interventions that will bring about safer alcohol consumption amongst the European workforce.

Based on recent European studies, it is estimated that productivity losses contributed 47% of the total 125bn social cost of alcohol to Europe. There is also clear evidence that detrimental drinking patterns increased the risk of absenteeism, with frequent high risk drinkers being as much as 22 times more likely to report alcohol-related absenteeism. Harmful alcohol use and episodic heavy drinking also increase the risk presenteeism, including arriving to work late and leaving work early or disciplinary suspension, resulting in loss of productivity; turnover due to premature death; disciplinary problems or low productivity from the use of alcohol; inappropriate behaviour (such as behaviour resulting in disciplinary procedures); theft and other crime; and poor co-worker relations and low company morale. Despite the structural relationships between the work environment and the risk of alcohol use disorders, surprisingly few intervention studies have investigated the impact of changing work structures on reducing workplace alcohol-related harm, with brief advice programs, and programs attempting to change workplace attitudes toward on-the-job substance use in addition to training workers to recognize and intervene with co-workers who have a problem being the most promising. There is, thus, an enormous potential for the better development and implementation of workplace policies and actions that improve wellness at work and lessen the impact of alcohol on health and productivity at the work place, as well as reducing the wider social costs due to alcohol.

Among the planned activities were also the following:

  • To evidence existing good practice in workplace-based methods of raising awareness and changing behaviour to reduce alcohol-related harm
  • To engage in workplaces and pilot-test innovative, evidence-based alcohol-focused interventions
  • To prepare and disseminate a tool kit and policy recommendations for better work place practice to reduce alcohol-related harm.
  • To organize a European conference with invited stakeholders from European institutions and countries to launch findings of project, as well as national dissemination event in each partner country as well as Greece.

Contact information
Dina Zota, MSc, Project coordinator: d.zota@prolepsis.gr 

Services:Occupational Health

Project partners

Main Partner

Spain – Departament of Health – Government of Catalonia in coordination with UK - Health at Work Ltd.

Associated partners:

Regione del Veneto, Italy
Technische Universitat Dresden, Germany
Externe Dienst Voor Preventie en Bescherming Securex VZW, Belgium
Trinity College, Ireland
Health at Work Ltd., UK
EUROCARE - European Alcohol Policy Alliance, Belgium
Romtens Foundation, Romania
Ashton Leigh and Wigan Primary Care Trust, UK
Tyoterveyslaitos (Finnish Institute of Occupational Health), Finland
Department of Health of the Government of Catalonia, Spain
Instytut Medycyny Pracy im prof.dra J. Nofera (Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine), Poland
Alcohol Focus Scotland, UK
Liverpool Primary Care Trust, UK
Fundació Privada Clínic per a la Recerca Biomèdica, Spain
PAŃSTWOWA AGENCJA ROZWIĄZYWANIA PROBLEMOW ALKOHOLOWYCH (The State Agency for Prevention of Alcohol-related Problems), Poland
PROLEPSIS, Institute of Preventive Medicine, Environmental and Occupational Health, Greece
Zagreb Country Inst of Public Health, Croatia

Collaborating partners:
Institute of Occupational safety and environmental health of Riga Stradins university, Latvia
inistry of Health of the Republic of Slovenia, Slovenia
Nederlanda Instituut voor Alcoholbeleid (Dutch Institute for Alcohol Policy), Netherlands
Deutsche Hauptstelle für Suchtfragen e.V. (German Centre for Addiction Issues), Germany
Instituto Superiore de Sanitá, Italy
National Institute of Public Health, Slovenia
Government, Departamento de Tratamento e Reinserçao, Portugal

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