Alcohol use among workers in male-dominated industries: A systematic review of risk factors

June 2015
Roche, A., Lee, N.K., Battams, S., Fischer, J.A., Cameron, J., & McEntee, A. (2015). Alcohol use among workers in male-dominated industries: A systematic review of risk factors. Safety Science, 78, 124-141. DOI: doi:10.1016/j.ssci.2015.04.007

Although there is a growing body of work regarding alcohol use and the workplace, little work has been conducted on risk factors for alcohol use in male-dominated industries. In the working population, risky alcohol consumption and alcohol use problems result in significant health, social, and economic costs. Particular subgroups of the working population have higher prevalence of alcohol use and misuse, including males, younger workers, and Indigenous employees. However, the available evidence on risk factors for work-related alcohol use and associated harms has not been systematically reviewed within male-dominated industries. Such a focus is required to inform intervention and prevention strategies that target these industries.

This study reports the findings of a systematic review of risk factors for alcohol use and alcohol use problems in male-dominated industries. Dominant risk factors found to be associated with problematic alcohol use included being male, middle aged, having a high stress job, or a job that resulted in burnout, being a blue collar, unskilled or manual/worker, or working in an environment with permissive drinking norms. Many of these factors may be influenced by policy or intervention strategies that can prevent or reduce alcohol related risks and problems among workers in male-dominated industries.

Alcohol primary prevention strategies and future research that targets specific high risk industries may be necessary to address workplace drinking norms, reduce job workloads and stress, and improve workplace support. Multi-pronged, tailored strategies are needed in male-dominated industries that reflect the needs of high risk groups as well as targeting environmental, social, and contextual factors.