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SEX, DRUGS AND ALCOHOL RISKS IN CONSTRUCTION

Research reveals construction trades at elevated risk of death from drugs

New research published by the journal Occupational Medicine shows that the risk of death from diseases and injuries caused by alcohol, drugs and sexual habits varies significantly between different jobs and professions.

The study analysed 1.6 million deaths over a ten year period and found that painters, bricklayers, plasterers, roofers and had approximately twice the average rate of death from drug abuse.

Other findings included: merchant seamen and people working in pubs and catering had much higher risks of alcohol-related death; tailors, dressmakers and male hairdressers had nine times the average risk of death from HIV infection.

Findings highlight preventive opportunities

The researchers state that whilst in general, the diseases and injuries that caused these deaths are unlikely to be a direct consequence of work, the study “is important because it highlights opportunities for preventive action.”

The Society of Occupational Medicine who published the study claimed that lives could be saved by prioritising and targeting employees who work in the jobs concerned with preventive measures.

Professor David Coggon, who led the research, said:

“this study demonstrates that there are major differences between occupational groups in their risk of death from drug and alcohol related diseases. The findings are important because they indicate opportunities for targeted interventions to prevent illness and promote health.”

Dr Olivia Carlton, President of the Society of Occupational Medicine added:

“The workplace is an ideal environment to pick up on drug and alcohol problems and to put in policies to improve safety and productivity and to help workers. Problems can come to light because a workers performance is affected, they may develop mental health problems or they may be off work more often.

Occupational Health doctors can help those individuals who are affected and help the employers implement drug and alcohol policies and awareness programmes.”

For further information, an advance copy of the full research paper or to arrange an interview contact: Vanessa Hebditch 07899 895674 | vanessahebditch@som.org.uk

Comment

This research highlights the importance of companies having agreed an drugs and alcohol policy in place applying to all staff. The policy should form part of your overall health and safety policy. 

For others it will provide further evidence supporting the introduction random drugs and alcohol testing as part of that policy.

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