Drug and Alcohol Evaluation

Project background

The Christchurch rebuild has presented a significant opportunity for young workers to relocate for work. This growing population of tradespeople increases the potential for work site accidents, particularly if drugs and alcohol are involved. The Christchurch Safety Accord, which included five major construction companies, was set up to improve health and safety awareness on-site and was concerned about the impact of drugs and alcohol use on site safety. A drug and alcohol education programme provided by Mental Health Education Resource Center (MHERC) had been underway for several months. We were contracted to work with ACC and MHERC to examine how effective this programme was and what they might do to support the construction sector.

What we did

We worked alongside ACC and MHERC to evaluate the recent intervention around the impact of drug and alcohol on construction workplace safety. As part of this project we surveyed over 20 different construction sites and 300 workers to understand the prevalence of alcohol and drug use in the Canterbury rebuild. This is a difficult thing to survey as the implications for reporting have consequences for the workers. We had to ensure that strong ethical processes were followed to ensure the workers could be confident reporting honestly. We worked with the researchers from the National Health Survey and gained permission to use several of their items so we could compare our sample of construction workers with a national sample of New Zealanders of similar age and gender.

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The information assisted both ACC and MHERC to better understand the nature of the challenges companies face in keeping worksites free of drugs and alcohol. This article provides a snapshot of the project.


Further information:

Video: AOD on site – why it’s an issue in construction - Dr Catherine Savage

Health Promotion Agency - Constructing a healthy culture around alcohol and other drugs

Stuff - Taking safety procedures seriously

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We’ll work with you to find out what’s working, where investment could be put to best use or how to improve anything not going to plan. We can help you define success and set tangible, measurable goals. And we talk in real language so you can understand and engage with the findings. We engage with the community to conduct community research and consultations for private companies, trusts, government agencies, NGOs and more. But we have a special interest in research that has a purpose - to better society and teach lessons. We aim to help those we work with build capacity to enact positive change.