A co-produced cultural approach to workplace alcohol interventions: barriers and facilitators

June 2018
Cameron, J., Pidd, K., Roche, A., Lee, N., & Jenner, L. (2018). A co-produced cultural approach to workplace alcohol interventions: barriers and facilitators. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, 1-11. doi:10.1080/09687637.2018.1468871

Few studies have evaluated workplace alcohol and drug-related prevention strategies despite the enormous potential of workplaces as intervention sites to address AOD issues.

To address this knowledge gap, a process evaluation of the Workplace Reduction of Alcohol-related Harm Project (WRAHP) was undertaken. The WRAHP is a co-produced workplace alcohol intervention developed by NCETA in collaboration with LeeJenn Health Consultants and the South East Business Networks in Victoria.

The WRAHP trial utilised a comparative study design involving four workplaces with two workplaces allocated to the intervention group and the other two to the comparison group. Only data from the intervention group was used for the process evaluation.

The process evaluation, embedded in the WRAHP trial, was conducted over three years. It included site visits, site observations and on-site semi-structured interviews.

The study identified seven potential barriers and facilitators to the implementation of the WRAHP:

  1. Attitudes toward alcohol in the workplace – barrier
  2. Policy development and awareness – facilitator
  3. Referral pathways and access to support – facilitator
  4. Participation and equity: production pressure – barrier
  5. Participation and equity: language barriers – barrier
  6. Communication – facilitator
  7. Sustainability – facilitator.

Adopting a whole-of-workplace co-production approach was essential to overcoming many of the barriers and enhancing facilitation of the WRAHP. Foremost was the involvement of all employees in the development and implementation of the intervention along with using key stakeholder interviews and policy development workshops to engage managers, supervisors and workers.

Throughout the project, emphasis was placed on the importance of incorporating the WRAHP strategies into existing day-to-day workplace to maximise uptake and ensure sustainability.

Embedding a tailor-made co-produced alcohol intervention within a worker well-being framework and incorporating site relevant issues, increased both acceptance and uptake of workplace AOD policy and interventions. This study identified important considerations for researchers working with workplaces to address AOD-related issues and replicating similar co-produced interventions in other workplace settings.