The Blue Collar Blues: Alcohol Abuse Highest Among Construction and Mining Industries
“If you build it, they will drink…”
That sure seems to be the case in the construction and mining industries – where employees are abusing alcohol at record levels.
But it’s not just in these specific building and heavy industries. In fact, businesses across the board are measuring alcohol abuse with greater clarity than ever before, and the numbers are staggering. The reality is that almost every business is seeing a greater degree of risk.
We all know that substance abuse is negatively impacting U.S. businesses across the board. From lost productivity and absenteeism to workplace accidents and injuries, companies are at a greater risk than ever before. According to a 2015 SAMHSA study by Donna M. Bush and Rachel N. Lipari, U.S. companies lose billions of dollars each year because of alcohol and drug abuse – and those numbers vary based on the specific industry.
In the same study, the authors concluded that “an annual average of 8.7 percent of full-time workers aged 18-64 used alcohol heavily in the past month,” with the most concentrated use in the mining, construction and food services industries. While not all of the jobs in these fields are hazardous, many require the skilled operation of tools and machinery – and in some cases, heavy equipment with a high-level of risk to life and limb.
The bottom line: these are not the places where mistakes can happen.
There are many reasons why these “blue collar” workers might turn to alcohol. High turnover rates, low pay, limited opportunities for growth, clinical depression… the list of contributing factors goes on. While companies can invest in smart, proactive policies to combat substance abuse disorders, they are still at risk on any given day from an alcohol-related accident or injury – resulting in a work stoppage, lawsuit or other business-crippling event.
Want to see what the stats are for your specific industry? Read the entire study here.