Alcohol at work, what can the occupational physician do?

Françoise Verstraete Published in the journal : December 2018 Category : Médecine du travail

Summary :

In Belgium, drug and alcohol consumption at the workplace is regulated by a Collective Labor Agreement called CCT 100. In theory, all employers are required to assume a preventive policy concerning this issue. Yet, in the field, employers sometimes call on occupational physician as a matter of urgency, distraught by one of their employee’s excessive alcohol consumption. During the medical consultation, the occupational physician should attempt to provide preventive information and guidance to the employee or, in case of highrisk activity, to assess the employee’s ability to perform the specific duties. The role of the occupational physician is strictly regulated by labor legislation, although he is invited to collaborate with all medical stakeholders, while observing professional secrecy. This article presents a few practical cases that precisely outline the role of the occupational physician as regards to alcohol consumption at work.

What is already known about the topic?

In Belgium, all employers must assume a preventive policy regarding drug and alcohol consumption (CCT 100). The occupational physician must provide assistance and guidance to employees facing difficulties with alcohol consumption at work. The physician is clearly involved in the patient/employee’s therapeutic pathway. This role, which is highly regulated by legislation, is still poorly understood by other medical stakeholders, as well as by employers and employees alike.

What does this article bring up for us?

Through three concrete cases, the different roles of the occupational physician as regards alcohol consumption are considered within their legislative frameworks, either in case of individual prevention during a consultation or if problems occur within the company (before or after returning to work). The article also addresses the different types of potential collaboration between colleagues.

Key words

Alcohol, addiction, occupational physician, CLA 100