This week at Yuanda we completed training in managing occupational health and wellbeing. The course was provided by IOSH and is aimed at providing practical advice and tools for managers to help create a healthy and productive place of work.
The likelihood of suicide amongst male construction site workers is around three times higher than that of an average UK male.
I’ll let that sink in…
Between 2011 and 2015 the Office of National Statistics found that of the 13,232 workplace suicides recorded, skilled construction workers and those involved in the building trade made up 13.2% of them. This is troubling as the construction industry is responsible for only around 7% of the national workforce.
For years health and safety have worked to minimise visible risks to construction workers. However, statistics like this emphasise the importance of identifying and minimising mental health risks also.
The course with IOSH focused on developing an understanding of mental health awareness and exactly what the term refers to.
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being and it affects how we think, feel, and act, it also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.
Key focal points:
I sat down with Sergio Domingos, a Senior Project Manager here at Yuanda UK to identify some of his key takeaways from this course. They were as follows:
If you feel you have a problem, the sooner you do something about it, the better – it can stop you becoming more unwell. Line managers and colleagues can also play an important role in identifying when colleagues are behaving out of character, so it is best to be cooperative if your line manager approaches you with concerns.
It might be that certain tasks, work environments, times of the day or being part of a particular team are linked to your issues. If you feel you have a mental health problem, it is a good idea to raise it with your line manager, HR department or someone else in the workplace.
You could make use of scheduled meetings, appraisals or informal chats about the progress that you have with your manager – these can give you both a chance to talk about any problems you have.
Stress and mental health conditions do not affect everyone in the same way. The employer can make adjustments to ease your problems, but only if you give them a better understanding of your situation.
In the construction industry here in the UK we take physical H&S very seriously. However, as the statistics have shown, it is becoming more and more evident that mental health in construction needs to be taken very seriously.
At Yuanda, our course with IOSH is a part of our overall commitment to providing our managers (and workers) with the strategies needed to manage both their own mental health and that of their team.