Experts reflect on daily drinking
Research suggests significant numbers of workers in mining and agriculture are consuming drugs and alcohol before work.
A study from the Alcohol and Drug Foundation has found around 25 per cent of miners have gone to work under the influence of alcohol, while 10 per cent of farm workers admit to smoking marijuana in the morning.
“The mining industry has a work hard, play hard attitude so at the end of a hard day they like to have a cold beer and relax,” said spokesperson Natasha Jager.
“But it's about how their use of alcohol or drugs at night time after their shift can have a flow-on effect the next day.”
Dr Trent Watson from health consultancy Ethos says night-time activities can easily have effects the next day and beyond.
He said 76 per cent of workers reported feeling fatigued once a fortnight.
“You get people saying; ‘I drank six beers last night and I'm getting up early to pee, I'm getting dry mouth … I'm getting eight hours of comatose sleep but I'm waking up feeling awful’.”
While safety incident rates in mining remain relatively low, he said it not the kind of thing that should be left up to luck.
“Subjectively we can assess our level of impairment sufficiently enough to make a safe decision, but we're not doing it,” he said.
“We want spouses, family and friends to take that action, like they do when they're behind the wheel.
“We want people in hazardous work places doing exactly the same.”
Ms Jager agreed the health effects went beyond the daily cycle.
“There are the same amount of calories in two rum and cokes as there are in a Big Mac,” she said.
“Now you talk to any guy, they could easily down eight rum and cokes on a night out, but would they really have four Big Macs?”