A Hard Earned Thirst: Workplace Hydration and Attitudes Regarding Post-Shift Alcohol Consumption

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Irwin, C
Leveritt, M
Desbrow, B
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2013
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Abstract

Industrial workers are often challenged by hydration issues, and may consume alcohol after a day at work. The consumption of alcohol in a dehydrated state could impose significant health and safety concerns for these individuals. In this study, the hydration status of 16 male industrial workers (age: 39 ᠸ years, mean ᠓D) was monitored by measuring urine specific gravity (Usg) over two consecutive days at work, prior to exploring attitudes, perceptions and practices towards alcohol consumption using a semi-structured telephone interview. Urine sample analysis indicated that 33% of workers were inadequately hydrated (Usg > 1.020) at the beginning of the shift and 24% of workers were inadequately hydrated at the end of the shift on Day One. On Day Two, 41% of workers were inadequately hydrated at the beginning of the shift and 31% of workers at the end of the shift. The majority of workers believed alcohol consumption after work was acceptable, and indicated a lack of consideration for hydration levels prior to consuming alcohol. Further research is required in order to gain a better understanding of hydration in the workplace and workers attitudes and behaviours towards post-shift fluid consumption (including alcohol). This may assist with the development of appropriate public health campaigns highlighting the implications of alcohol consumption in situations where dehydration is anticipated.

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Journal of Health, Safety and Environment

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29

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1

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Human resources and industrial relations

Public health

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