People focussed health?

People focussed health?


Here at SID we have been spending a good deal of time looking at the slow motion accident that is ill health caused by construction related activities. The front end team of client advisors, designers and decision makers can make a great difference for good here and because they can do so, so significantly, they should do so.

The statistics are fairly meaningless to most of us but one particularly telling one is that of the people born after 1960 research says 1 in 3 will get cancer of some form in their life. More than half the male cancers in the UK are caused by building and construction work related activity.

This is either horrible news or a real call to action, an opportunity to make a profound difference, to our businesses, to the economy, to the survival of our precious NHS and above all to the lives of individuals. We see it as an opportunity to improve our industry and its reputation. An absolutely essential programme of work in which every one of us needs to be involved.

Occupational health is much more difficult territory than the blood and gore of accident management. It is harder to measure success and harder to see the benefits. It requires the really skilled in our industry to get creative in all sorts of positive ways.

Signing up on-site Occupational Health (OH) services at every large site can make a much needed, however a  small and localised difference, the major benefit being that it raises the profile of occupational health throughout the supply chain . But - it is an approach that does not take into account the whole life of our much needed workforce. Much better to adopt the approach taken by senior managers and have a long term, career following, professional tracking of health measures so individuals can own a greater say in their wellbeing. It would be completely daft to start records again each time an individual needed to see their GP and in just the same way it is completely daft to do the same each time a worker starts on a new project. This is especially crazy when the majority of projects are small and so very unlikely to engage with OH services at all.

So, major project sponsors, why invest in sophisticated services that hardly apply to your workforce’s lives? Is it to protect yourselves? Try turning it around and protecting your workforce with long term real benefits to them. You will get the workforce you need. Your CSR will be enhanced. You will find that this also protects you. Oh yes and it saves you, the whole sector and indeed the nation a great deal of wasted money too. Of course the effects cascade down to the small projects too.

Constructing Better Health (CBH) is a ground breaking way of managing this complex issue. We are ardent fans of their approach. We can see an industry that is more able to attract the best available talent because it actually takes care of people, place and the environment. Where not only senior management have regular health screening but everyone is considered valuable and where work activities are designed to reduce harm.

What can you do?

1. Revisit your high level corporate strategy and policy documents. 

    Do you say you care for your people?  Do you really mean what you say?

2. Sign up to the Constructing Better Health Scheme

3. Join us as a Tutor for Designing For Health one day courses to spread practical ways to make a difference


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