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The prevalence of work-related deaths associated with alcohol and drugs in Victoria, Australia, 2001–6
  1. Briohny McNeilly,
  2. Joseph Elias Ibrahim,
  3. Lyndal Bugeja,
  4. Joan Ozanne-Smith
  1. Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Professor Joan Ozanne-Smith, 57–83 Kavanagh Street, Southbank, VIC 3006, Australia; joanos{at}vifm.org

Abstract

To describe the presence of alcohol, cannabis and amphetamines in work-related injury deaths in Victoria, 2001–6, an observational study of work-related deaths reported to the State Coroner's Office, Victoria, Australia was conducted. Case and postmortem forensic toxicology data were obtained from the National Coroner's Information System for work-related injury deaths with positive toxicology screens. Over 6 years there were 43 worker deaths in a total of 355 unintentional work-related injury deaths. The coroner mentioned the presence of alcohol/drugs in 22 of the 43 worker deaths with positive toxicology screens. Toxicology screens were positive for alcohol and/or drugs in 79 work-related deaths overall. Overall, alcohol was present in 26 (7%) work-related deaths and cannabis or amphetamines in 20 (6%). Incidents were mainly transport related. Alcohol and/or drugs were present in a significant portion of work-related deaths. Research is needed to determine the relative contribution of alcohol and drugs compared with other contributing factors to work-related deaths.

  • Alcohol
  • drugs
  • injury deaths
  • occupational
  • work-related
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Footnotes

  • Funding This study was funded by WorkSafe Victoria, State Government of Victoria, Australia.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine HREC and Victorian Department of Justice HREC.

  • Contributors The planning, conduct and reporting of work in this article was carried out by BM, LB and JEI. LB made a substantial contribution to the conception of the research. BM and JEI contributed to much of the research design. BM was largely responsible for the analysis and interpretation of data and in drafting the article. JOS (guarantor) revised the article critically for important intellectual content and provided final approval of the version to be published. All contributors to this work are included as authors and there is no one else that fulfils the criteria but has not been included as an author.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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