Hospitality workers have the highest rate of serious alcohol problems among U.S. industries, with 15 percent of workers in the federally defined “leisure, hospitality and arts” market segment suffering from alcohol-related problems, a new study finds.
The report, “Workplace Screening & Brief Intervention: What Employers Can and Should Do About Excessive Alcohol Use” — issued by Ensuring Solutions to Alcohol Problems, a research center at the George Washington University Medical Center — found the highest level of serious alcohol problems in the hospitality, construction, and wholesale industries.
“Most employees represented in these numbers are not dependent on alcohol,” said Eric Goplerud, Ph.D., director of Ensuring Solutions. “But they do use alcohol in ways that lead to short-term safety problems and long-term health consequences.”
Alcohol problems were significantly worse among male workers than female workers, researchers found: for example, male construction workers were 50 percent more likely to have alcohol-related problems than women in similar jobs, while men in wholesaling jobs were three times more likely to be problem drinkers than their female counterparts. Alcohol problems also were more common among younger workers (ages 18 to 25) than older workers.
The report recommended that more primary-care doctors, workplace wellness programs, and employee-assistance programs begin screening and brief intervention (SBI) for alcohol problems among workers, which Goplerud called a “proven approach that promises to effectively reduce workplace alcohol problems.”
“The impact of alcohol problems in the workplace is a tremendous hidden challenge, in part because very few people with an alcohol problem are ever identified,” said Andrew Webber, president and CEO of the National Business Coalition on Health. “In the past, employers have led the way to doing more for people with chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. It’s time for American industry to do the same for people with alcohol problems.”
The findings were based on an analysis of two major government surveys: the National Survey on Drug Use and Health and the National Comorbidity Study.
From; Join Together Online