Alcohol consumption in firefighters, urban cleaning workers and other municipal workers - an epidemiological study of public health determinants in occupational health
Noncommunicable diseases cause 41 million premature deaths globally (71%), every year (WHO, 2018).
These include cardiovascular diseases, neoplasias, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases, having as its main risk factors (concerning avoidable risk behaviours) tobacco consumption, hazardous alcohol consumption, unhealthy eating patterns and sedentarism.
Lisbon City Hall’s workers represent stable subpopulations of large dimensions (over 9.000 workers in total), and with high relevance to the study of variables associated with Public Health determinants.
Transversal observational study, in the workplace setting, with a large sample of municipal workers (over 9.000 workers, with stable subpopulations), framed by a wider research study on avoidable behaviours, taking place until the end of 2019: namely alcohol consumption and its association with sociodemographic and professional variables, comorbidities and protective factors.
Besides contributing to the knowledge of the epidemiologic profile of municipal workers, it intends to propose a Health Surveillance and Intervention Model for municipal workers.
DEPENDENT VARIABLES: Alcohol consumption (AUDIT and AUDIT-C).
INDEPENDENT VARIABLES: Sociodemographic and professional characteristics (professional categories, activities and exposure to relevant risk factors), comorbidities, biometrics and protective and aggravating factors.
The preliminary results of the exploratory study (sample of 1.130 municipal workers, extracted from the periodic Occupational Medicine exams from April to July 2018, consisting of 150 urban cleaning workers, 166 firefighters, 8 gravediggers and 806 "other" professional categories, mainly with administrative work) have revealed differences among them concerning patterns of alcohol consumption:
- no consumption: 170 (15%) of the total of 1.130 participants; 29 (19,3%) urban cleaning workers, 16 (9,6%) firefighters, 1 (12,5%) gravediggers and 124 (15,4%) from “other” professional categories;
- low risk consumption: 857 (75,8% of the total); 100 (66,7%) urban cleaning workers, 135 (81,3%) firefighters, 6 (75%) gravediggers and 616 (76,4%) “others”;
- hazardous and risky consumption: 69 (6,1% of the total); 19 (12,7%) urban cleaning workers, 15 (9%) firefighters, 1 (12,5%) gravediggers and 34 (4,2%) “others”.
Comparing alcohol consumption patterns among these workers confirms a greater hazardous and risky consumption in urban cleaning workers (12,5%) and in firefighters (9%), against 4,2% in “other” professional categories.
Approximately a fifth of the urban cleaning workers does not drink alcohol and two thirds have low risk consumption. But, as far as the hazardous and risky consumption is concerned, they consume one and a half time more than the firefighters.
On the other hand, although approximately 1 out of 10 firefighters have hazardous and risky consumption, it should be stressed that 4 out of 5 firefighters drink alcohol.
In conclusion, the firefighter’s patterns of consumption seem to be more frequently associated with contexts of socialization (less non-drinkers and more low risk consumptions) indicating the need for workplace interventions.
In the urban cleaning workers, there is a pattern of higher hazardous and risky consumption, and a less relevant context of socialization, but with a greater need for individual and workplace interventions.
The data gathered from the sample of the second phase of the study (August to December 2018) is presently under analysis.