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  • Construction Safety & Substance Use: Blueprint For Action In BC

Construction Safety & Substance Use: Blueprint For Action In BC

With support from the BC Construction Safety Alliance (BCCSA) CARMHA is leading the first phase of a two-phase project to reduce risks related to substance use in the BC construction sector. 

Phase 1 develops a Blueprint for Action based on evidence and advice collected from BCCSA members and key informants in all regions. Relevant provincial, international, and industry specific evidence will be used to assess the role of alcohol and other drugs (AOD) on personal safety and health among BCCSA members and identify priority opportunities for risk reduction.

The resulting Blueprint will detail priorities for evidence-based actions (Phase 2).


The severity of safety issues related to alcohol and other drugs (AOD) among construction workers is high. The use of AODs is more prevalent among constructions workers than among people employed in other industries, and AODs exact a significant toll on and off the job site due to both acute, subacute, and chronic effects of AODs. Fatal and non-fatal accidents and injuries are disproportionately high among construction workers and are strongly associated with the acute through chronic effects of AODs.

International evidence demonstrates that compared to workers in other industrial sectors, construction workers have a high prevalence of substance use and substance use disorders. Apprentices and young construction workers are at particularly high risk. In British Columbia, there is regional variation in the types of substances used by construction workers either separately or in combination with other drugs. US research found that construction workers underestimate the safety risks posed by substance use and that risks can be reduced through appropriately targeted programming.

WorkSafe BC has not reported specific statistics regarding AOD and safety risks. However, construction is the only industry identified by WSBC with a specific Drug & Alcohol Policy.

Phase 1 develops a blueprint for action based on structured consultations with BCCSA key informants in all regions. Relevant BC and international evidence will be used to assess the role of alcohol and other drugs (AOD) on accidents and personal safety among BCCSA members and identify characteristics associated with high risk (e.g., age, region).


The Blueprint for Action developed by the current project will be distributed and marketed to branches of government, the public, and relevant stakeholders. Outcomes will be communicated via web-based tools, media, and presentations.


  • Examine international evidence
  • Detail needs in BC
  • Prioritize actions where effective interventions align with BC needs


  • Implement action and measure improvements in safety and health among BCCSA members?