New research revealed risky drinking amongst hospitality workers was very common.

Tackling alcohol use in hospitality

October 24, 2019 BY

A collaborative campaign aimed at tackling the heavy drinking culture among male hospitality workers has been launched following reports the group is prone to drinking at dangerous levels.

The project – led by VicHealth, Monash University and Chisholm Institute – is one of three initiatives to share in VicHealth’s Men’s Risky Drinking Cultures grants, which has set aside a total of $370,000.

Research revealed “risky drinking” amongst hospitality workers was “very common”, a behaviour linked to accessing free booze, as well as the perception that workers could better wind down by swigging liquor after a shift.

Other findings indicated a large number of hospitality workers felt they needed to drink on the job in order to fit the workplace culture. VicHealth chief executive officer Doctor Sandro Demaio said it was important for hospitality workers to understand that drinking doesn’t correlate to doing well or coping at work.

“Hospitality workers in our bars, restaurants and cafes work long hours in high-pressure environments and many workers feel drinking is their only option to blow off steam.

“There has been an increasing focus on the mental wellbeing of our hospitality workers, and we think workplace culture is critical to improving this. The often-entrenched drinking culture in many of our pubs, bars and restaurants is absolutely a part of this.”

Dr Demaio said the project aimed to support hospitality workplaces to “amplify” their existing positive social cultures by removing the need to engage in heavy drinking.

It will also target hospitality students to empower them to shift the drinking culture before they’re tempted to engage in it. Monash University’s Dr Michael Savic said it was the industry’s responsibility to provide safe workplace environments for staff.

“We know hospitality students are heavily influenced by workplace cultures around drinking. We need to make sure that young hospitality workers feel safe and supported when entering the workforce.”

Each of the three Men’s Risky Drinking Culture campaigns will focus on equipping men with the understanding that socialising can be achieved without being in the presence of alcohol.

For more information, head to vichealth.vic.gov.au.