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B&CE has been working hard to develop a new, simplified occupational health scheme that works for the construction industry. This summer, we consulted with the industry on the proposed framework, a three-year plan that clarifies the complex health and safety legislation that employers need to comply with. By implementing it, employers will have confidence that they are legally compliant, and that workers’ health is being consistently assessed as they move from job to job. We developed the framework in collaboration with an Occupational Health (OH) Steering Group made up of employers, occupational health professionals, regulators and Federations.
Through both face-to-face events and an online consultation, we received feedback from contractors, clients, occupational health service providers and individual workers. Respondents commented that the framework provides a simple, clear and robust approach to managing workers’ health. Many agreed that the term ‘Safety Critical Worker’ has caused confusion, leading to overuse, and that removing it would be beneficial. Our proposed approach ensures that the effects of health conditions will be appropriately considered for everyone undergoing a framework assessment.
Respondents also challenged us on a variety of points, including the proposed framework cycle, legal compliance, availability and accessibility, training and of course, cost. We’re considering all these points as we develop the next iteration of the framework, and will report back to the industry in due course.
A number of respondents asked us why mental health is not included in the framework. Raising awareness of, and improving mental health outcomes, is vital for an industry with worrying levels of stress, anxiety and suicide rates. However, there is no one, simple, evidence-based way for occupational health professionals to assess the many types and forms of mental health conditions. We will continue to work with the OH Steering Group to review developments in this area, and include them when appropriate.
Chief Executive Patrick Heath-Lay commented, “The industry is eager for a solution, and we are working hard to make sure we get one that is absolutely right. Work has started on the digital platform, as harnessing the power of technology is vital to achieving our goal of an efficient, cost effective solution. We’ve got a lot to do, and we will continue to collaborate with the industry as we make progress.”
You can keep up to date with developments at www.bandce.co.uk/occupational-health
For more information, contact Samantha Wilding, Communications and Public Affairs Manager at B&CE – Construction Services on 01293 766674 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors
B&CE is a not-for-profit organisation – we operate for the benefit of our members and their dependents. We were founded in the construction industry back in 1942. Now we offer a workplace pension, employee accident cover and employee life cover.
Chief Executive Patrick Heath-Lay gained overwhelming support at January’s HCLG Summit on our vision for a new approach to occupational health in construction. This vision has at its heart a digital, portable record that workers can take from site to site and contractor to contractor, enabling them to own and manage their health records for the first time.
The first step has been creation of an occupational health Framework, and further details can be found at www.bandce.co.uk/occupational-health