Opening up to better mental health in the workplace

Adrian Storey, General Manager at Horbury Facades, looks at the importance of ensuring the physical and mental health of construction workers is taken seriously both on and off site.   

“When we think about health and safety on a construction site, we consider things like employees having the correct PPE, briefing staff about any hazards, making sure they know about any restricted areas and so on. However, some of the major health and wellbeing concerns are those that are less noticeable or completely hidden, such as mental health.

A Labour Force Survey recently reported that every year 80,000 construction workers suffer from work-related ill health that they believe was caused or made worse by their job.

In addition, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), 18% of reported work-related illnesses in UK construction are the result of mental health problems such as stress, depression or anxiety, which accounts for 400,000 lost working days each year.       

One in four people in the UK will have a mental health problem at some point in their lives. Work-related stress and Common Mental Health Problems (CMHP) often have the same symptoms such as loss of appetite, fatigue and tearfulness.

Varied working patterns, strict deadlines, long hours and physical strain is something that many construction workers experience on a daily basis, and can have a negative effect on their health and wellbeing.

In our industry many people are affected by mental health, which is why it is more important than ever to support any team members that may be suffering. Mates in Mind, the first UK-wide programme to promote positive mental health across the construction sector, offers support and advice for employers and workers.

Internal Policies

In an industry that can be both physically and mentally challenging, we realise it's important to recognise the impact that poor mental health can have on employees. The health and wellbeing of our workforce is an extremely important issue that we take very seriously at Horbury Facades, and throughout the whole Horbury Group. We regularly hold team meetings where health and safety is an important agenda item and in particular our approach to mental health is always an item for discussion. Our aim is to ensure that all members of staff feel empowered to discuss any concerns they may have about their own mental health in a safe and confidential environment.

We openly encourage team members to take regular breaks to help boost their wellbeing and actively promote talking about mental health in order to help reduce the stigma around the issue.

We also urge colleagues to support one another by following ‘Mates in Mind’s’ top tips for tackling mental health problems. These include, taking the time out to chat and have a cuppa with workmates who may be struggling, asking if they’re okay and letting them know we’re here to help, as well as joining a workmate on a lunchtime walk to talk and help them get some headspace.

We care about our employees and we not only want them to be physically safe on site, but we also want to ensure they are mentally well too. As such, we have put in place a support network so they can openly discuss any issues regarding mental health to ensure everyone on the team is happy and healthy in body and in mind.”

If you or someone you know needs support, urgent help or would just like someone to talk to, there are a variety of confidential services available including the Mates In Mind Construction Industry Helpline: 0345 605 1956.

Horbury Facades provides a complete façade installation, aftercare and inspection service. This includes intrusive surveys (including rope access for difficult areas), consultation, remediation, cleaning and maintenance, including written reports, logs QA/QC and insurance inspections of all works and checks carried out.

To find out more about the company’s cladding installation, maintenance and remediation services, or to speak to a member of the team about a professional site survey, call 01709 515 044 or email enquiries@horburyfacades.com.

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