Why has safety improved, but not occupational health?
Within the construction sector, there has been gradual growth in understanding of health and safety, however it has also been recognised that addressing occupational health is a much more difficult area to address.
The occupational health problem
Less than half of male construction workers are still able to do their job in the construction sector by the time they reach the age of 60, due to health problems. At the same time, the majority of work-related deaths between 2009 and 2010 were as a result of health issues for the construction industry, meaning that this is still a problem that needs to be sorted as a priority.
Difficulty monitoring occupational health
One of the reasons that occupational health is a difficult issue to address within the construction industry is due to the nature of the job. For example, engineers located in changing locations may be travelling a lot to complete projects and less likely to live at their home all the time. This means that they may not prioritise seeking help services when resources are limited in different locations, and are not surrounded by family who may otherwise encourage them to seek medical advice as soon as symptoms appear. This can also mean that many construction workers delay seeking medical advice and therefore health issues become more advanced.
Managing the issue of health
Managing health is all about risk management within the construction sector, and just as with safety risks, if all parties work together then these risks can be minimised. Exposure to any materials that may affect health should be limited, and masks be given to prevent inhalation of any harmful fumes or dust. Health risks will be different at different sites, but the important thing is to involve construction workers in this risk assessment to ensure that all bases are covered.
Construction worker involvement in improving occupational health
Part of improving occupational health is encouraging workers to take responsibility for their personal health and wellbeing in the workplace. Engaging themselves with their own health at work can increase life expectancy and reduce the likelihood of developing work related illnesses later on in life. Create values of open discussion about health to provide the opportunity for continued improvements and for risks to be practically addressed.
The RG Group take the health and safety of all our employees very seriously, and we are always looking at ways we can improve. Get in touch to join our team or find out more by calling 01732 526 850 today.