Healthy Workforce, Healthy Projects: How Helping Your Construction Employees Stay Healthy is Good Business


You’re in business to make a profit, but the health and safety of your employees matters too. Without them, you don’t have a crew to complete projects. Here’s how to go above and beyond the minimum requirements set out by law.


Provide Safety Gear For Workers


Safety gear for workers includes safety glasses, gloves, aprons, and other clothing suitable for the specific job. For example, many construction workers wear a hard helmet to protect their head from falling objects.


This type of safety gear can be found at, or other similar suppliers, and is a great way to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Many employers expect employees or sub-contractors to pay for some or all of their own gear. Do something different. Subsidise these costs, and earn the morale of your employees.


Assess Risks Regularly


Assess the risks for injury on the job. This might seem easier said than done, but it’s worth the effort. Common problems in the construction industry include dermatitis from skin exposure to wet concrete, epoxy resins, and acrylic sealants, and musculoskeletal problems from block laying, frequent bending, and moving and installing plywood and plasterboard.


Your legal duties are codified under the Manual Handling Operations Regulations and require you to decide whether and how you can avoid manual tasks that involve a high risk of injury. However, beyond the minimum requirements of the law, installing or implementing automation (i.e. using machines) can also improve worker productivity, so look at this as a profit opportunity.


Machines can typically do what humans cannot, and they also do not tire from use. Instead of making employees do the back-breaking labour, make machines do it.


For risks stemming from skilled labour, like brick-laying, investigate what safety gear can be implemented to reduce the harm to employees without sacrificing quality.


Provide De-Stress Protocols For Workers


Stress is a serious health problem. And, while many employers don’t take it seriously, it can lead to employees missing days of work. That will slow down projects and manufacturing – not good. The law requires you to assess risks that are caused by work and take action to minimise and control those risks.


But, beyond just doing the minimum that the law requires, you should also include enhanced stress reduction protocols. For example, partner with a local spa and cut a deal with the company to provide relaxation days or therapeutic massages to help workers de-stress. You don’t necessarily have to provide additional days off for this either.


You can help schedule spa days for employees either on their normal days off or before or after their shift begins.


Set up an educational initiative that teaches employees about the importance of eating healthy and getting enough sleep. Sleep, in particular, is important. New research shows that many adults do not get a full 8 hours of sleep every night. This impacts a person’s ability to recover from daily stress.


Furthermore, blue-light (yes, the colour) is known to be responsible for depressing melatonin levels in the body. Melatonin is required for the body to get into a deep sleep. Part of your de-stressing initiative could include handing out blue-blocker glasses to all employees and showing them the benefits of turning in earlier while reducing their use of T.V. and electronic gadgets at night.


The Benefits


Protecting your workforce isn’t just the law, it’s also good business. For example, you benefit in at least three ways:


Fewer missed days of work. When you have happy and healthy employees, they’ll miss fewer days at work. 


Better efficiency. Employees that are protected by employers are also more efficient. Imagine how much trouble you’d save yourself if you protected your workers from back injuries, for example, by buying a machine or two that could do the same work. Or, consider the efficiency gains you could realise by automating tasks that are now done manually. It may require an upfront investment, but you start making it back immediate in labour costs. Better morale. When you take care of your employees, they want to work for you. No one wants to work on a job site where they know there’s a high risk of being hurt. Additionally, some jobs are so stressful that employees are disenfranchised. They don’t want to work for you, so they refuse to put in 100 percent effort. The result is lower quality products. Improved morale can actually be a source of increased profits.


Ewan Miles is passionate about efficiency and hard work. After years supervising construction projects, he greatly enjoys writing about his experiences and insights for successful building.

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