Construction workers urged to open up over stress

The construction industry is being encouraged to start talking about employee stress with the launch of a joint initiative between the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) and Health & Safety Executive (HSE).

The CLC said the move was in response to “unprecedented strains” on workers as companies adopted new ways of working in response to the pandemic.

The HSE has published ‘Talking Toolkit’, a guide on how to prevent work related stress in construction.

Now the Construction Leadership Council is encouraging all businesses from across the industry to put their guide into the hands of their teams, inspiring better conversations to identify and manage stress for construction employees.

HSE chief inspector of construction Sarah Jardine said: “We have worked with industry partners to develop the toolkit, which specifically homes in on the particular work-related stress challenges that may be experienced by those working in construction. Stress, depression and anxiety are the second biggest cause of ill-health in the sector, so tackling them offers the chance to make a real difference to thousands working in the sector”.

Construction Leadership Council co-chair Andy Mitchell said: “While the industry has made an outstanding effort to protect employees from the effects of the pandemic in the last year, it is all too clear that workers continue to be at risk from work-related stress. The Talking Toolkit offers free, practical help developed by experts to help release pressure from the workplace. The CLC strongly encourages everyone to pick up a copy.”

Source: Construction Manager
Further information can be found on the Construction Manager website.

Work-related stress and mental illness is worse in construction

New research reveals that almost half of construction workers lose sleep from workplace stress with budget concerns, workload and client demands cited as the biggest worries.  Chris Chapman, Technical Support Manager for the BSG (Building Safety Group), the UK’s largest construction safety group looks at the need for an industry-wide mind shift when it comes to stress and mental health issues.

According to a poll by safety barrier manufacturer, A-SAFE, 48% of construction workers are kept awake as a result of workplace stress with some losing more than 10 hours of sleep a week.  Almost 70% in the sector suffer from Sunday night blues, with the data also showing that 16% of workers regularly lose sleep, with a further 32% experiencing occasional loss of sleep.

In addition, the poll of 1,000 people working in the construction industry highlighted: Workload (35%), client demands (25%) and budget concerns (24%) as people’s biggest worries at work. Line management (25%), workplace politics (18%) and salary (14%) were also revealed as factors contributing to loss of sleep.

Last year, a survey amongst construction worker members of UCATT also revealed very real concerns about the prevalence of mental health problems in the construction industry.  The results of that survey found that 64% said they are suffering from stress and a huge 76% said they had at some point suffered stress in the workplace. 30% of respondents have taken time off work due to stress.

With regards to mental health, 35% of respondents said that they were suffering from a mental illness or had suffered from a mental illness. Of these members, 44% had time off due to mental health issues but a staggering 75% had not raised their problems with management. In total 57% of respondents said their workplace had no interest in their mental health. The two main mental health areas that caused the most pain, were depression and anxiety. 75% had experienced depression and 58% anxiety. These are both common throughout society – and are treatable, however shockingly, 72% of respondents said they mentioned absolutely nothing to anyone at work about their problems.

These reports provide some crucial insight into workforce wellbeing in the construction sector. As an industry, we need to take the issues of workplace stress and mental health seriously.  Employees working in construction need to know that their mental health is just as important to us as their physical wellbeing. Workplace stresses can have a huge impact on Health & Safety.  These results suggest that worries at work can have a negative impact on life outside work, leading to actions that could affect work performance.  With that in mind, Building Safety Group are aiming to bring the discussion of mental health in the construction industry to the top of the agenda by working in partnership with construction firms to help them better manage workplace stress and mental health issues.  Talking to someone can begin the healing process and not talking about depression and anxiety in this industry needs to be urgently addressed – for everyone’s health and safety.