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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}


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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  • 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.

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