Bricklayers, plasterers and painters are also more likely to suffer alcohol-related death than other occupations

Construction workers are twice as likely to die from drug abuse as workers in other occupations.

Painters, bricklayers and plasters are also more likely to suffer death and disease through alcohol abuse and sexual activity, according to research published in scientific journal Occupational Medicine.

The results from the study into 1.6m deaths showed that site workers and those in the artistic and literary professions had the highest average rate of death from drug abuse.

Professor David Coggon, who led the research, said: “This study demonstrates that there are key differences between occupational groups in their risk of death from drug and alcohol related diseases.”

Dr Olivia Carlton, President of the Society of Occupational Medicine said: “The workplace is an ideal environment to pick up on drug and alcohol problems and to put in policies to improve safety and productivity and to help workers.”

Merchant seamen and people working in pubs and catering were found to have much higher risks of alcohol-related death, whilst tailors, dressmakers and male hairdressers had nine times the average risk of death from HIV infection.