How safe are federal regulations on occupational alcohol use?

J Public Health Policy. 2006;27(4):389-404. doi: 10.1057/palgrave.jphp.3200104.


Current US federal regulations on occupational alcohol use for safety-sensitive jobs do not account for impairment from low doses of alcohol and next day effects of heavy drinking. Research on the effects of low doses of alcohol on neurocognitive and simulated occupational tasks suggests that the current per se level of these regulations is set too high. Research on the effects of heavy drinking on next-day neurocognitive and simulated occupational performance is mixed and suggests that further research is needed to determine the safety of current "bottle-to-throttle" times. Although low-dose and residual drinking effects may pose low relative risk for occupational error, the aggregate contribution of these exposures to workplace problems may be substantial, given the number of people exposed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / prevention & control*
  • Acute Disease
  • Alcohol Drinking / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Alcohol Drinking / prevention & control
  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Cognition Disorders / chemically induced*
  • Federal Government
  • Government Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Occupational Health / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Perception
  • Risk
  • Safety / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • United States
  • Workplace