Background: Substance abuse is a serious problem, because it affects both workers and young people. Prevalence and consequences of cannabis abuse among construction workers in particular are not well studied in Egypt.
Objectives: To determine the association between non-fatal occupational injuries among construction workers and their demographic and occupational factors and to assess the frequency of cannabis abuse and its relationship to injury severity and workdays lost.
Subjects and methods: A case-control study was conducted at Mansoura Emergency Hospital. Cases were 100 acutely injured male workers. A control group of 90 healthy age-matched workers was selected from 8 construction sites. Workers were interviewed, and a questionnaire was completed that included socio-demographic data, full occupational history, and causes and type of injury. Injury outcome measures included lost workdays and the injury severity score (ISS). Cannabis abuse in injured workers was monitored by preliminary testing of urine and confirmatory testing of blood.
Results: Logistic regression analysis revealed that the independent predictors of occupational injuries were rural residence, being a carpenter or painter and past history of injuries. The most common accidents were slipping falls (62%). Confirmed cannabis test was positive in 51.1% of the injured workers. Median days away from work were greater among cannabis users than non-users. The ISS was significantly higher among users compared to non-users ( p < 0.05).
Conclusion: Cannabis abuse can increase injury severity and prolong workdays lost. Drug testing is recommended for at-risk construction workers with inadequate safety measures.
Keywords: Cannabis use; Egypt; construction workers; occupational injuries; risk factors.