Almost 40 per cent of construction workers drink large quantities of energy drinks, with the products now banned on some sites.
The traditional tradie lunch of cigarettes, pies and soft drinks has been traded in for energy drinks and supermarket takeaways, according to research by Griffith University.
The researchers found the odds were stacked against tradies because of early starts, a high-pressure work environment and long commutes.
They found that 69 per cent of workers were overweight or obese, with many having an energy drink instead of breakfast.
Lead researcher Rebecca Loudoun said the drinks were being consumed in construction at an alarming rate, despite the emerging health risks associated with excessive consumption.
“The workers really thought because they work in a very physical job that the health guidelines didn’t fit for them, that they were for office workers,” she said.
Some subcontractors said they had banned energy drinks among their workers, with several concreters collapsing because of dehydration after drinking them.
Steel-fixer Damian Klaassen, 38, avoids energy drinks, favouring a strict sugar-free diet, but he has seen energy-drink companies hand out free drinks at worksites.
Fellow steel-fixer Michael Johnston, 21, has one energy drink a week.
“Some people go through one or two drinks a day. That much caffeine can’t be good for you,” he said.
Side effects of energy drinks include cardiac and neurological toxicity, palpitations, tremors, seizures, hallucinations and arrhythmias.