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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 August 2007, 11:02 GMT 12:02 UK
Bar staff 'highest alcohol risk'
Man drinking
Alcohol-related deaths are becoming more common
Bar staff are the mostly likely workers to die of alcohol-related problems, figures for England and Wales indicate.

The Office for National Statistics data shows bar staff are twice as likely as average to die from conditions such as liver disease or pancreatitis.

Least likely to die, according to the figures from 2001 to 2005, were farmers among men and educational assistants among women.

Alcohol-related deaths have doubled since 1991.

Last year the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed alcohol deaths, which include poisoning but not alcohol-induced accidents, topped 8,000 in 2005, up from just above 4,000 in 1991.

What is important is whether the occupation has a drinking culture, the availability of alcohol and the toleration of drinking at work
Professor Martin Plant, alcohol addiction expert

The latest study looked at 13,011 deaths among men aged 20 to 64 and 3,655 deaths among women.

It showed male bar staff were 2.23 times more liked to die from alcohol than average, while their female colleagues were 2.03 times more likely.

Male seafarers, including those in the navy, were the second highest-risk group - 2.16 times more likely to die. For women it was bar managers - 1.93 times more likely.

But at the other end of the scale, male farmers were less than half as likely than average to die.

Characteristics

For women, the least likely professions to have high rates of alcohol deaths were dominated by those involving working with children.

Educational assistants, childminders and nursery nurses were all less than half as likely to die.

Male doctors have traditionally featured high in such analyses - the ONS has done occupation breakdowns before but not for 12 years.

But the latest figures indicate they are among the least at risk.

Professor Martin Plant, an alcohol addiction expert from the University of the West of England, said: "There are often common characteristics related to the likelihood of drinking and therefore alcohol-related deaths.

"What is important is whether the occupation has a drinking culture, the availability of alcohol and the toleration of drinking at work.

"That is why you find the entertainment and catering industries featuring heavily.

"Interestingly, doctors used to have high levels of alcohol consumption, but it seems women, who are now entering the profession in greater numbers, have had a civilising effect."

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