How healthy is your workforce?

Did you know that your workers are far more likely to be off work due to work-related ill health, than an injury caused by an accident?

In fact, work-related ill health can take years to develop. But when it does, the effects can be devastating for the worker suffering from a preventable illness. And for employers, that means a less productive workforce and increased costs. So, what are the main issues, and how do you become a healthier company?

Forgetting about health in the construction industry

If your workers are exposed to certain hazards, you won’t always see the effects straight away. So, unlike an accident causing an immediate injury, slow developing health issues can easily be out of sight.

Symptoms can take years to develop

The industry is more aware of work-related ill health these days. For example, we now know that exposure to asbestos during post-war years caused asbestos-related illness to peak in the 2000s.

But more needs to be done. It’s essential employers understand the health risks and what steps they need to take to protect their workforce. So, what’s the answer?

It’s time to treat health like safety

Work-related ill health isn’t – and shouldn’t be – part of the job. Workers shouldn’t expect to develop diseases caused by work.

It’s time to focus on health, for the good of the construction industry. Everyone involved in construction has a responsibility to manage risks to health.

5 ways to become a healthier company

1. Manage employee health, not sickness

Your commitment can reduce turnover, increase productivity and improve motivation. Create an occupational health policy with procedures and guidance that benefits all.

2. Work together to deliver policies on occupational health

Policies should be supported by strong management processes. Develop key performance indicators that measure the management of occupational health, keeping an eye on the data for any trends.

3. Improve occupational health

This is everyone’s responsibility. Train your managers and employees so they can manage health at work. Ensure you’ve got health representatives and advocates in place to support your managers.

4. Create a health culture

Empower employees to perform at their best. Employers have a moral obligation to care for their workforce. Start by finding out what your employees want and discuss ideas on how to manage health in the workplace.

5. Make a health commitment

It’s vital to have positive, open communication and consultation. Develop a health programme – by setting up employee forums. Commit the people, time and money needed to improve health at work.