Christmas is a time for celebration, and for many, that includes raising a glass of their favourite tipple. However, while enjoying a festive drink is a cherished tradition, it’s essential to remember that responsible alcohol consumption is not only vital for personal well-being but also crucial when it comes to workplace safety. 


There is a delicate balance of enjoying a drink over the Christmas period while being aware of the potential implications, especially if you work in industries where safety is paramount.


Understanding Units


Understanding the units of alcohol in different beverages is the first step in responsible drinking. Different drinks contain varying amounts of alcohol, and it’s essential to grasp how these units can add up. The NHS advises that men and women drink no more than 14 units a week on a regular basis. 


What this looks like:


Single small shot of spirits* (25ml, ABV 40%) = 1 unit

Small glass of red/white/rosé wine (125ml, ABV 12%) = 1.5 units

Bottle of lager/beer/cider (330ml, ABV 5%) = 1.7 units

Pint of higher-strength lager/beer/cider (ABV 5.2%) = 3 units

Large glass of red/white/rosé wine (250ml, ABV 12%) = 3 units


Safety in Dangerous Industries 


For those working in high-risk or ‘dangerous’ industries, alcohol consumption and safety concerns are even more critical. Safety-sensitive professions, such as construction, manufacturing, and transportation, require employees to be alert and focused. Even a small amount of alcohol can impair decision-making and reaction times, posing a severe risk to both the individual and their colleagues. Employers often implement strict alcohol policies to ensure the safety of their workforce.


Point of Care Testing (POCT)


POCT refers to the practice of conducting medical diagnostic testing in close proximity to the patient. In the context of alcohol testing, it involves testing employees for alcohol consumption in the workplace, providing instant results. This minimises the risk of a worker being under the influence of alcohol while on the job.


Workplace Alcohol Testing 


Workplace alcohol testing, including Point of Care Testing (POCT), is an essential tool for employers to maintain a safe working environment. POCT allows for quick and accurate alcohol testing on-site. This ensures that employees who operate heavy machinery or are involved in safety-critical tasks are not under the influence of alcohol while at work.


Safety in the Workplace


It’s essential to enjoy the celebrations while keeping safety and well-being in mind. For those working in safety-sensitive industries, responsible drinking and adherence to workplace alcohol testing policies are not optional but obligatory. 


Understanding the units of alcohol in different drinks and being aware of the potential consequences of alcohol consumption at work are crucial steps towards a safe and enjoyable Christmas period. By implementing measures like POCT, employers can ensure that their workforce remains fit for duty and capable of maintaining a secure working environment.


Want to know more about our drug and alcohol testing in the workplace? Please get in touch with our team, call us on 01260 277797 or email us at


  • Samaritans 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can call 116 123 (free from any phone), email 
  • SANEline. If you’re experiencing a mental health problem or supporting someone else, you can call SANEline on 0300 304 7000 (4.30pm–10.30pm every day)
  • National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK. Offers a supportive listening service to anyone with thoughts of suicide. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK on 0800 689 5652 (6pm to midnight every day)
  • Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM). You can call the CALM on 0800 58 58 58 (5pm–midnight every day) if you are struggling and need to talk. Or if you prefer not to speak on the phone, you could try the CALM webchat service.
  • Shout. If you would prefer not to talk but want some mental health support, you could text SHOUT to 85258. Shout offers a confidential 24/7 text service providing support if you are in crisis and need immediate help.
  • Switchboard. If you identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, you can call Switchboard on 0300 330 0630 (10am–10pm every day), email or use their webchat service
  • Helplines Partnership. For more options, visit the Helplines Partnership

Want to know more about the Occupational Health services we provide at Acorn, and how they could benefit your business and your employees? Please get in touch.