It’s pretty hard these days to escape the message that drinking and driving don’t mix. What about drinking on the job? Of course, that’s something you’d never even consider because you know the risks to yourself and your co-workers. A drink or two with friends after work, however, might be okay occasionally. But, what happens when one or two turns into five or six? The effects of over-indulging can linger into the next day at work.
In most states, a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 is considered intoxicated. For men, that’s typically three to four drinks in an hour; for women, it’s only two to three. A long night of partying can end up being two or more times that amount.
To give you an idea of what being more than twice the legal limit could do to your performance at work, the following timeline shows an hour-by-hour breakdown of “sobering up.” Blood alcohol is metabolized at an average rate of .016 per hour; therefore, a BAC of .160 will take more than 10 hours after the last drink to reach zero*.
|Time||Activity & BAC|
|1 a.m.||Cab ride home BAC .160|
|2 a.m.||Go to bed .144|
|3 a.m.||Sleeping .128|
|4 a.m.||Bathroom .112|
|5 a.m.||Restless .096|
|7 a.m.||Alarm goes off .080|
|8 a.m.||Drive to work impaired .064|
|8:30 a.m.||Begin work impaired .056|
|Rest of the Afternoon||hangover, impairment continues|
Even though you aren’t “drinking on the job,” you’re impaired on the job. Alcohol doesn’t allow for restful sleep, so not only do you still have alcohol in your system and may be hung over, you’re also tired. Can you imagine having to work with someone whose attention span, judgment, and reflexes are noticeably poorer? Would you want to work on a scaffold put up by someone like that?
Often, alcohol impairment isn’t as obvious as someone who is stumbling drunk. The effects of the night before can linger way beyond last call. If you suspect someone is being affected by alcohol or drugs, don’t ignore the situation. Let your supervisor know you think there’s a problem. It’s the first step toward helping that person, and your actions just may prevent an accident.
Safe@Work is brought to you by Federated Insurance®. This article is for general information and risk prevention purposes only and should not be considered legal or other expert advice. It is not a guarantee that the risk of loss will be eliminated or reduced. Qualified counsel should be sought regarding questions specific to your circumstances. The information is accurate as of November 2014 and is subject to change.