Why do we want to improve occupational health in construction?


We believe everyone working in construction has the right to a healthy working life and future. We don’t think ill health in construction should be considered the ‘norm’. And with our 75 years in the construction industry, we’re in a good place to start challenging the industry to make the change.

In 2016 we acquired Constructing Better Health (CBH) – an occupational health scheme for the construction industry – and quickly realised it wasn’t working. We saw the need to make managing occupational health in construction easier.

But first, we wanted to understand what the construction industry needs. So, we engaged with employers (large and small), construction workers, industry representatives and occupational health service providers (OHSPs).

We carried out research (quantitative and qualitative), held forums and focus groups and conducted in-depth interviews. We’ve spoken to a lot of people from across the industry and continue to have regular dialogue with them.

We found that within occupational health in construction there’s a ripple effect – there’s a lack of understanding about what occupational health is and how it should be managed. This leads to inconsistency and inefficiency which, in turn, leads to poor outcomes.

We also learned that:

  • Employers want a clear and easy way to comply – with clarity and guidance on what health tests to carry out, based on risks and hazards rather than job role.
  • Employers are investing unnecessary time and resources and want a consistent approach across the industry.
  • Duplicate medicals and the lack of a portable health record means that workers aren’t getting a consistent and effective overview of their health.
  • The industry and workers want an effective way to spot the signs and symptoms of ill health at an early stage to prevent future health issues.

Our research tells us that there’s a will to change all this. And that the construction industry is behind us in creating a simple occupational health solution that will work for everyone.

Read our full research findings

What do we want to do?

We want to improve the health of the construction industry by encouraging a unified approach and change in culture, behaviour and perceptions. Work related illness is preventable.

Our occupational health management scheme will catch the symptoms of ill health earlier and make it easier for employers to understand and comply with health and safety legislation. It’s a win/win.

Part of our work is to raise awareness of the issues around occupational health in construction, and to provide occupational health service providers with guidance and best practice advice. We’ve already been attending industry events and hosting occupational health study days – watch the video summary of our respiratory disease study day for a taste of the insightful information shared at these events…

 

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