Alcohol Consumption in the Australian Mining Industry: The Role of Workplace, Social, and Individual Factors

Publication Name

Workplace Health and Safety


Background: Coal miners have been reported to have higher rates of risky/harmful alcohol misuse; however, it is not known if metalliferous mining employees whose working conditions differ in workplace practices, also have increased rates of risky/harmful alcohol misuse. This study aimed to examine alcohol consumption in a sample of Australian metalliferous mining workers and to examine the demographic and workplace factors associated with risky/harmful alcohol use. Methods: All employees from a convenience sample of four Australian mine sites were invited to complete a paper-based cross-sectional survey between June 2015 and May 2017. The survey contained questions relating to social networks, health behaviors, psychological distress, demographic characteristics, and risky/harmful drinking. Current alcohol use was measured by the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), a validated measure of risky and/or harmful drinking. Factors associated with risky/harmful drinking were investigated using univariate and multivariable logistic regression. Findings: A total of 1,799 participants completed the survey (average site response rate 95%). Overall, 94.8% of males and 92.1% of females reported using alcohol in the preceding 12 months. The odds of risky/harmful alcohol use were significantly higher in those who were male, younger, and reported higher psychological distress. Conclusions/Application to Practice: This study identified that metalliferous mining employees engage in at-risk levels of alcohol consumption significantly higher than the national average despite workplace policies and practices that restrict alcohol use. Personal and workplace risk factors that may help target specific employee groups and inform the development of tailored, integrated multicomponent intervention strategies for the industry were identified.

Open Access Status

This publication is not available as open access

Funding Number




Link to publisher version (DOI)