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Alcohol use can lead to construction accidents

On-the-job alcohol use is not contained to any one industry or entirely absent from any industry. It’s always a potential threat and something employers must watch out for.

That said, experts note it’s especially common in the construction industry. Other industries with high rates include excavation, mining, drilling, maintenance, repair and installation.

Alcohol creates a multitude of risks on a construction site. It can cause workers to be far less productive than they should be. It can compromise the quality of their work. It can also lead to serious workplace accidents.

For instance, a worker is supposed to secure a load before it’s lifted to the second level of a structure. He or she has been drinking, makes a simple mistake and doesn’t secure the load properly. It falls, striking a worker who is walking below. While many accidents endured by intoxicated workers only harm themselves — like a fall from a ladder — other workers are also at risk.

That risk is perhaps more common than people realize. One study found that nearly a quarter of all workers admitted to drinking on the job in the last year alone. When workers who are hurt are given breath tests in the emergency room, one report found that 16 percent of them had been drinking.

These are just a few highlights, but they help show how one intoxicated worker can put everyone else in danger. It’s critical for companies not to allow drinking or create a company culture that promotes it. Those who are hurt by other employees’ negligence need to know what rights they may have to compensation.