Young construction workers and AOD-related harm

December 2017

Construction industry apprentices are at high risk for AOD-related harm and poor psychological wellbeing due to stress and workplace bullying. Associate Professor Ken Pidd presented these important findings from a recent NCETA study of 169 first-year apprentices at the APSAD 2017 Annual Conference in Melbourne.

According to Associate Professor Pidd, “NCETA’s previous research found that the construction industry is one of the highest risk workforce groups for AOD-related harm. We’ve now identified that these risks are present when apprentices first enter the workforce.

“Our recent study shows that almost three-quarters (72.2%) of the group reported high AUDIT-C scores, almost one quarter (24.9%) had used cannabis in the past month and 3.6% had used meth/amphetamine in the past month.

“Job stress and bullying were significantly associated with psychological distress and meth/amphetamine use.

“The findings indicate that young construction workers could benefit from effective AOD interventions which in turn could improve their physical and psychological wellbeing”, said Associate Professor Pidd.

Associate Professor Pidd’s presentation at APSAD attracted considerable media attention before and during the conference.

This project will form the basis of a much larger program of work that NCETA is currently developing and that will roll out in 2018. It will address strategies to reduce AOD-related harm amongst high-risk industry groups. Potential workplace industry partners are encouraged to contact NCETA about options for co-design projects and collaboration.