The relationships between high-risk and problem drinking and the occurrence of work injuries and related absences

J Stud Alcohol. 1994 Jul;55(4):434-46. doi: 10.15288/jsa.1994.55.434.


A review of studies on the relationship between alcohol and work injuries revealed that the evidence is contradictory and that many of the studies contain methodological flaws. The present study aimed to determine whether there are relationships between problem drinking and high alcohol consumption and outcomes such as work injuries and related absences. The sample consisted of 833 employees at an industrial worksite. Problem drinking was measured by the Mortimer-Filkins test, while alcohol consumption was measured by a 7-day retrospective diary. Work injury data were obtained from medical reports completed at the worksite medical center, while absences data were obtained from company records. Chi-square analyses revealed significant relationships between problem drinking and work injuries and injury-related absences, but not between high alcohol consumption and work injuries and related absences. Logistic regression analysis revealed that no variables were significant predictors of work injuries. However, when uninjured subjects were excluded, a second analysis revealed that Mortimer-Filkins test scores, recent stressful life events, age and job satisfaction were significant predictors of two or more injuries. Injured subjects were almost twice as likely to have two or more injuries if they had high numbers of recent stressful life events and low levels of job satisfaction. Logistic regression analysis revealed that age, Mortimer-Filkins test categories and job satisfaction significantly predicted injury-related absences. Problem drinkers were 2.7 times more likely to have injury-related absences than non-problem drinkers, and subjects with low levels of job satisfaction were 2.2 times more likely than others to have injury-related absences. The implications of the results for workplace alcohol policies and programs are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism*
  • Accidents, Occupational / psychology
  • Accidents, Occupational / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology*
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Workplace
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / psychology