Smoking, drinking, staying up late: Survey reveals builders’ uniquely unhealthy lifestyle

Compared to the general workforce, construction workers are much more likely to smoke, binge drink, not exercise in time off, sleep less, and even not wear seatbelts.

That is the finding of a three-year study by the US’ National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 

The study used data from 32 states gathered in telephone surveys between 2013-2016 as part of the Behavioural Risk Factor Surveillance System, which collects data about health risk behaviours, chronic health conditions, and use of preventive services.

NIOSH concluded that construction workers should have interventions to reduce harmful behaviours.

However, the study also found that the prevalence of risky behaviours varied substantially across 38 different construction occupations.

The NIOSH study follows a 2019 report by Drug and Alcohol Dependence which found that construction workers are the most likely of all occupations to use cocaine and to take prescription opioids for non-medical purposes.

Image: ©GCR, illustration by Denis Carrier

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