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Now that 2022 is in full swing, we wanted to bring you an idea of 5 of the health and wellbeing focus areas for the construction industry this year.

1. ISO 45003:2021

This document provides guidelines for managing psychosocial risk from an occupational health and safety point of view and is based on ISO 45001. It’s actually the first global standard focusing on psychological health, safety, and wellbeing at work, and so is an extremely welcome introduction, in our opinion.

Its aim is to guide employers who want to make the mental health of their staff a priority and it provides a framework for identifying psychosocial risks that can impact its workforce.

2. Use of health and wellbeing data to drive strategic decisions

Depending on the size and structure of your organisation, you might have a number of data sources providing information to you, that used in the right way can help shape your health and wellbeing strategy, which is something we have talked about before here.

Combining data sources and looking at things differently with things like ‘Business Intelligence’ or BI, will make the world of data more exciting. BI helps organisations analyse their data, both historical and current, in order to help you make better strategic decisions for your company.

Business intelligence tools are used to process large data sets across multiple sources and present the findings in visual formats that are easy to understand and share within an organisation.

Have a look at this explanation of BI from Microsoft here.

3. Financial wellbeing

This is a growing area of wellbeing and is more important than ever following the pandemic and the recent energy crisis.

Many people, from all sectors and all walks of life, may have found their working life drastically changed, temporarily or permanently, as a direct result of the Covid 19. Furlough and partial furlough, bounce back loan, recovery loan, job retention scheme and self-employed income support scheme are phrases most people won’t have heard of before 2020.

Sadly others or members of their household may have experienced some of these, lost their jobs, or had to change careers. Financial worries are real and can have a cumulative effect, causing real psychological distress.

For this reason, financial wellbeing is an area we think should form part of your health and wellbeing strategy in 2022.

4. Respiratory risks

This isn’t an area that is new to the construction industry. Respiratory risks are one area that, happily, most industries won’t need to include in their health and wellbeing strategies. But it’s fair to say, that post-pandemic, it’s one that’s worth considering even more in 2022 within the construction sector. Until some of the startling stats in this area are reduced, this is always going to be a top priority in our industry.

The HSE undertook another month-long campaign on this in October last year, to check that health standards were ‘up to scratch’ in this area. At the time, the HSE, said: “Inspections will focus on respiratory risks and occupational lung disease, looking at the control measures businesses have in place to protect their workers’ lungs from construction dust including silica, asbestos and wood dust.

We wouldn’t be surprised if this happens again this year. You can read more on this here.

5. Fatigue management

It may take some people a while to work out that they need a good balance between their working and home life in order to reduce stress and keep physically and mentally well. But most people identify that they need to get this balance right, and it can be increasingly difficult in today’s society and culture. To avoid mental and physical fatigue, more and more people are not willing to accept the long working hours the industry has had in its culture.

We’ve previously addressed ways to help manage fatigue here and why it is important for a lot more than just preventing accidents in the workplace.

The four-day working week is also a hot top of discussion right now. Many businesses have already publicly announced that they are switching to that model to take better care of their staff. There’s a list of UK companies who have either adopted or are trialling this model in this National World story here.

A four-day-week pilot to start this June is being backed by Oxford and Cambridge Universities which will collect data on the project. Hundreds of companies are interested, and the universities hope to present a test case to governments and business leaders that a 4-day week is possible. You can read more about this here.

It might not be an easy thing to implement in the construction sector, but like most people, we will be interested in the results of this pilot and how it could inform work-pattern strategies.

6. Construction Health’s mission

We love the construction industry and want the stats around poor health and wellbeing in the industry to change. Our mission is to work with the industry to make it healthier and happier.

We want to inspire and motivate companies to do better in this area, for the good of individuals, teams, businesses, and the industry as a whole. Of course, this blog includes our opinions here at Construction Health. And as we are invested in helping the construction sector improve its health and wellbeing, we are always going to be generally in favour of the introduction of any laws, frameworks, standards, and ideas which enable this to happen.

We have touched on some of the areas which might come more into the force in 2022. But we’d love to hear other opinions about other topics high on your agendas this year.

Let us know what is going to be important to you and your organisation this year in terms of health and safety implementation.

As ever, if you want to discuss your plans with us and how we can help you shape, implement, or deliver those plans, please get in touch.

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