Work Related Stress in the Construction Industry

Work Related Stress in the Construction Industry

02nd March 2017

Work related stress is the most second most commonly reported cause of occupational health here in the UK and accounts for a whopping 37% of all work-related ill health cases and 45% of all working days lost due to ill health.  This costs British industry double the amount that workplace injuries cost.  Last year the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched a focus on mental wellbeing in the workplace and published a strategy plan to deal with work related stress and reduce the number of new cases of ill health.  The HSE has committed to work with a wide range of partners representing employers, workers, public sector and third party organisation in order to raise awareness of this issue by:

·       Targeting priority sectors to carry out stress pilots in education and health

·       Engaging influential stakeholders to promote behavioural change by raising awareness of the effect on both individuals’ and business’ performance.

·       Supporting the National Forum on Health and Wellbeing on policy and research proposals.

·       Ensuring that the HSE’s activities complement and support the government’s wider mental health and wellbeing agenda, with a particular focus on the effectiveness of prevention.

·       Producing practical, tailored approaches for effectively managing work related stress.

·       Improving knowledge sharing and the transfer of good practice between stakeholders.

The HSE intends to develop an evidence base to gain a better understanding of stress management in the workplace and identify emerging issues by:

·       Providing benchmarking information  that is available by sector and business size

·       Evaluating the sector pilot projects

·       Producing cost-benefits case studies

·       Gathering evidence from industry, academia and research organisations to inform future activity

·       Monitoring the continued effectiveness of the Management Standards approach

·       Developing a suite of leading indicators to measure stress risk management in individual businesses and sectors by the end of this year (2017).

This is all part of the #HelpGBworkwell initiative which aims to raise awareness and encourage behavioural change via the appropriate communication methods and tools by:

·       Using insight research methods to determine the most appropriate methods and messages to influence the target audience

·       Relaunching the Stress eBulletin and web community in order to extend their communication reach, targeting SMEs in particular

·       Publishing a revised suite of guidance materials

·       Delivering a National Stress Summit in March, 2017

·       Collaborating with industry stakeholders, the health and safety community and HR professionals to promote key messages through the relevant channels.

Part of a recognised and effective safety management system is the requirement that companies aim for continual improvement.  However, with some companies feel that they should embrace new safety features as soon as they are available and expect their workforce to embrace the changes with the same amount of enthusiasm.  However, in reality, employees don’t always jump on board and could feel that new safety measures disrupt their job habits which can create friction between staff and management.  In our next article on this subject, we’ll take a look at how thoughtful and considerate implementation of new systems can make all the difference when it comes to achieving the objective of change.