Construction health and wellness is rarely a topic of discussion, but its importance is extremely high. Although much of the focus has been on addressing the effects of sedentary and desk-based jobs, there are types of workplaces that can also lead other health issues, mainly construction sites.
Although there is more attention put on health and wellness in the workplace than ever before, there is still plenty of room for improvement. For example, in Japan, people have been attending state-funded fitness classes for many years. This is only one example of how we can work to integrate health and wellness into the everyday lives of busy individuals. For the construction industry specifically, there needs to be more resources in place that promote health and wellness. Although there are a number of programs that acknowledge the importance of workplace safety, especially in construction, personal health and wellness is often on the back-burner. Furthermore, with a typically male-dominated workforce, it is easier to lose sight of the importance of rest and recuperation. Below are a few strategies that construction companies can implement that aim to rejuvenate a worker’s health and wellness. Not only will these methods keep workers rested and relaxed, it will aid tremendously in creating a more productive team.
Start with training…and make it on-going
The secret to making sure that your employees always operate safely is clear, comprehensive training that doesn’t stop after the first few weeks. You need to make learning an integrated part of the company, and make it an on-going process. This could mean holding weekly or monthly ‘lunch and learn’ meets, where you can plan on watching videos, bringing in speakers or experts in health and wellness. In addition, you can design these sessions to be an open discussion where you can collect recommendations or suggestions on how your workers can enhance their work environment. In addition to spending time on construction safety, which many companies have done a good job of addressing, focusing on personal health and well-being should also become a priority.
Try a buddy system to ease in new employees
Partnering new recruits with more experienced employees does more than just keep them safe while they’re still learning; it also ensures that everybody has a chance to find their place within the group. Construction health is about more than just the physical. Emotional well-being and social interaction are just as essential, so companies should do their best to encourage long term members to take on greater responsibility. With plenty of construction workers having to go through various contract jobs, they are often thrown into a new environment fairly often. Being constantly unfamiliar with your coworkers and surroundings can be an emotional and mental burden for individuals. One way to curb this is by using your senior staff’s experience to guide and educate new hires.
Don’t only provide rest areas, promote breaks
All employees have the right to a safe, comfortable space where they can rest and recharge throughout the workday. Because construction is physically demanding and strenuous in nature, the importance of rest is even more vital. Regular and frequent breaks allow workers to re-energize, rest their eyesight (especially for crane and forklift drivers), and rest their bodies. With many construction teams working long days, providing a quiet, comfortable rest space can impact productivity and morale very positively.
Provide health advice and guidance
Working in construction can be extremely tough on the body and often takes its toll on physical health. Although the overall number of smokers is going down, construction remains one industry where tobacco use remains high. Not only does smoking hinder productivity, it is an incredibly unhealthy habit that affects those who use tobacco as well as those around them. While it is impossible to force someone to quit tobacco use, offer healthy alternatives like fruits and other snacks.
Walk the walk, and emphasize the importance of health and wellness
Despite providing a countless number of resources to promote the importance of health, it is ultimately up to workers themselves to take action. However, as a business owner, manager or supervisor, if you are proactive in promoting the importance of health and wellness, it is likely that your subordinates will follow your lead. By making an effort to change your habits and make health and wellness a top priority for yourself, you create the potential to positively influence workers through leading by example.