Men’s Health Week 2021

The prevalence of work-related stress, depression and anxiety has been increasing in recent years, and the last year has introduced new challenges – both physical and mental – never faced before by those in the construction industry.

The Men’s Health Forum, as a part of this years Men’s Health Week, is asking how do we begin to move forward and face these challenges.

Employers have a legal responsibility to protect their team from harm whilst working by continually doing risk assessments and setting actionable solutions from that. When an issue is tackled earlier it drastically reduces the impact it can have on both the individual and the business.

The key health considerations for the construction industry as highlighted by The Men’s Health Forum are detailed below alongside linked signposts for advice and guidance.

Stress Management

The second biggest cause of work-related ill health in the construction industry is stress, depression and anxiety. By recognising the signs of stress early on we can take steps to prevent, reduce and manage stress in the workplace.

At Ward Williams Associates we understand the importance of our team’s mental health and earlier this year members of our team volunteered to become Mental Health First Aiders (MHFA’s). Our MHFA’s have been trained in how to recognise mental health problems and are on hand to provide support to employees when they need it most, through listening and signposting to further assistance.

Starting the conversation is an important first step in preventing issues surrounding mental health. HSE (Health & Safety Executive) have provided a free Construction Stress Talking Toolkit, a practical step-by-step guide on how to begin and structure those often difficult conversations.

The Toolkit can be found here.

Moving and Handling Materials

If a part of your role involves lifting and carrying heavy materials then you could be at an increased risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). These can include but are not limited to pain in the back, neck arms or legs, which can increase over a period of time.

Working in the construction industry means that many are at a higher risk of these pains developing. However, there are steps we can take to mitigate these risks.

HSE have provided detailed guidance as to how these risks can be reduced. The guide can be found here.

Lung Damage

Last year in the UK, around 12,000 people lost their lives from lung diseases estimated to be linked to past exposure from work in a variety of sectors. Breathing in certain gases, fumes, vapours and dusts on site can cause serious, long-term lung damage. The construction industry is a high-risk sector.

These diseases cause severe, often incurable, health problems if the risks are not managed.

HSE has provided advice for where to get help for the specific control measures needed for any business looking to mitigate and manage the risks surrounding lung damage please find their advice here.

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