Publication: Aspectos médico legales sobre consumo de alcohol y trabajo en las resoluciones judiciales
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Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Alcohol consumption is one of our species’ vestiges. Fermentation was discovered in prehistoric times and that is why its history appears parallel to the evolution of mankind. Alcohol consumption is conceived as a social behavior, hence as a cultural rite, which has been source to a culture of alcohol. In ancient times, it was conceived as a mystical and cathartic experience; in the Middle Ages, as the deserved punishment of the poor; in the 19th century, as an addiction; and in the 20th century, as a risky chronic disease. Nowadays, the medical concerns for alcohol predominate in the area of health. So does the management of “alcohol risks“ at work. Hence, medical, social and legal aspects of the problem are to be taken into consideration. According to the 2014 World Health Organization’s report, in 15 years Europe’s average alcohol consumption will be twice the World’s. The traditional dichotomy between countries with “wet cultures” and those with “dry cultures” is disappearing and being homogenized in new ways of risky consumption that spread in younger populations. In this respect, Spain is considered to be a country in transition towards the “binge drinking” model; whereas in France the above mentioned model is already deeply settled. Nevertheless, both cases predict important social, medical and labor repercussions. This cultural change of consumption habits is forcing governments to undertake prevention policies to face today’s high-risk alcohol consumption and its ruinous demographic and economic consequences. Both from a social and an individual perspective, alcohol consumption has its bigger impact on a country’s morbidity, mortality and epidemiology rates and its economy alike. At work, alcohol consumption is measured following economic and subjective criteria and assessing its negative repercussions in work performance. Working environment, business lunchs and parties can mean alcohol consumption at work; and so do pressure on workers, demands of productivity, the establishment of working objectives and stress. In all these cases, alcohol consumption may symbolize a relief from labor suffering. This double-edged sword turns alcohol into the most consumed drug by workers. The association of alcohol consumption to higher accident rates, to a drop in working performance, to work absenteeism, to an increase in wrongful conducts or in labor risks triggers prevention policies that aim to diminish the risks for the employable population derived from alcohol consumption. Alcohol consumption has been source to many different studies based on both its social and medical repercussions, but none of them seems to have dealt with the medical-legal approach of case law. Through judicial decisions – conceived as the social mirror of conflict resolution – and through combining the realms of Medicine and Law, this thesis aims to provide a glimpse into the problem of alcohol consumption within the workforce...
Tesis inédita de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Facultad de Medicina, Departamento de Toxicología y Legislación Sanitaria, leída el 17-12-2015.