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The role of education and awareness in workplace alcohol and drug use in the Australian construction industry : proposed program of research and preliminary results

Biggs, Herbert C., Williamson, Amy, & Davey, Tamzyn M. (2012) The role of education and awareness in workplace alcohol and drug use in the Australian construction industry : proposed program of research and preliminary results. Vulnerable Groups and Inclusion, 3.

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Abstract

The main aim of this paper is to outline a proposed program of research which will attempt to quantify the extent of the problem of alcohol and other drugs in the Australian construction industry, and furthermore, develop an appropriate industry-wide policy and cultural change management program and implementation plan to address the problem. This paper will also present preliminary results from the study. The study will use qualitative and quantitative methods (in the form of interviews and surveys, respectively) to evaluate the extent of the problem of alcohol and other drug use in this industry, to ascertain the feasibility of an industry-wide policy and cultural change management program, and to develop an appropriate implementation plan. The study will be undertaken in several construction organisations, at selected sites in South Australia, Victoria and Northern Territory. It is anticipated that approximately 500 employees from the participating organisations across Australia will take part in the study. The World Health Organisation’s Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) will be used to measure the extent of alcohol use in the industry. Illicit drug use, ‘‘readiness to change’’, impediments to reducing impairment, feasibility of proposed interventions, and employee attitudes and knowledge regarding workplace AOD impairment, will also be measured through a combination of interviews and surveys. Among the preliminary findings, for 51% (n=127) of respondents, score on the AUDIT indicated alcohol use at hazardous levels. Of the respondents who were using alcohol at hazardous levels, 76% reported (n97) that they do not have a problem with drinking and 54% (n=68) reported that it would be easy to ‘‘cut down’’ or stop drinking. Nearly half (49%) of all respondents (n=122) had used marijuana/cannabis at some time prior to being surveyed. The use of other illicit substances was much less frequently reported. Preliminary interview findings indicated a lack of adequate employee knowledge regarding the physical effects of alcohol and other drugs in the workplace. As for conclusions, the proposed study will address a major gap in the literature with regard to the extent of the problem of alcohol and other drug use in the construction industry in Australia. The study will also develop and implement a national, evidence-based workplace policy, with the aim of mitigating the deleterious effects of alcohol and other drugs in this industry.

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ID Code: 49912
Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: construction, occupational health and safety, alcohol and other drugs
DOI: 10.3402/vgi.v3i0.17284
ISSN: 2000-8023
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 The Authors
Deposited On: 27 Apr 2012 08:43
Last Modified: 28 Apr 2012 13:27

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