Construction workers feel under stress

The majority of construction industry professionals believe life in their industry is more stressful now than five years ago.

A study of 1,000 construction professionals into occupational stress by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIB) found 68% of managers said they had suffered from stress, anxiety or depression, but only 27% of them had sought medical advice.

Skills shortages were a key cause of occupational health issues, with 55% of the managers polled blaming their stress levels on inadequate staffing levels.

Just 6% of those who had experienced occupational stress had taken time off, although 51% agreed that it did often help, the survey found.

Michael Brown, CIB deputy chief executive, said the disparity between the numbers who actually took time off and those who thought it would be a good idea showed that attitudes within the industry needed to change.

“This difference may be due to a perception that they would be stigmatised and that there would be a negative impact on their career if they admitted to suffering from stress,” he said.

But construction firm Taylor Woodrow has argued taking proactive action can make a difference.

It has cut its employee absence rate to less than half the construction industry average after signing up with private healthcare provider Bupa.

The contract, which has been running since 2003, covers its 4,500 UK building site and office staff.

The workers now have access to advice and counselling, managers can call an OH team, and pre-employment health assessment checks are carried out.

Since being introduced, the average number of sick days has fallen from 3.2 days a year to 2.8 days a year, compared with an industry average of 6.6 days lost per person per year.

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