Success in work-related health is challenging – but within our grasp…
The construction industry has an industrial strategy; it also has the HSE and ConIAC where guidance and standards are developed in partnership with industry. The industry is also abundant with information, knowledge, tools, experience and awareness-raising initiatives regarding ill-health prevention and the promotion of good health and wellbeing.
The industry is, however, inconsistent when it comes to the adoption of good healthy working practice – and the latest health statistics released in November 2017 show that the burden of occupational ill-health continues to rise.
With this in mind, the role of the HCLG, is to act as both a stimulus and a catalyst in helping unify the industry in its approach to worker health protection and the promotion, adoption and implementation of best practice processes and initiatives.
Plans and priorities
There is much to achieve by the overall target date of 2025, so the HCLG will focus on the key areas of promoting good mental health, ‘healthy design’, the prevention of respiratory disease and the prevention of musculoskeletal disorders.
In July 2022 the HCLG released a strategy review document which reflects on progress to date and sets out future plans.
The HCLG will focus on the key areas of promoting good mental health, ‘healthy design’, the prevention of respiratory disease, the prevention of musculoskeletal disorders, and the provision of quality health data for the industry
Every year, the construction sector loses 1.2 million working days due to work-related ill health, caused by illnesses such as musculoskeletal disorders; stress, anxiety and depression; and skin or respiratory conditions.
The construction industry accounts for the largest proportion (over 40%) of occupational cancer deaths and registrations, with the most significant causes of these cancers being exposure to asbestos, silica and painting and diesel engine exhaust fumes.
We are committed to promoting good mental health and reducing mental ill health in the construction industry. To achieve this, we will promote and support mental health programmes and organisations who share our vision, which is to create a culture where there is no stigma surrounding mental ill health and where the root causes of the unsustainable pressures which may lead to mental ill health, are identified and eliminated.
Ultimately, the HCLG encourages construction employers to have in place a mental health programme which drives a culture of speaking up, and where design and construction programmes and workplace arrangements are implemented in such a way that the mental health and wellbeing of the workers is safeguarded and protected.
The HCLG has worked with Mates in Mind to develop an industry-wide framework and programme for construction employers to adopt in order to achieve this.
There are other mental health programmes available, and others in development - the HCLG commits to providing information about these programmes on this website as it becomes available, to ensure construction employers feel informed and empowered to adopt the programme which best suits their needs, and the needs of their workers.
We are committed to eliminating respiratory disease in the construction sector and will endeavour to raise awareness of the causes of respiratory disease as well as the appropriate control measures which should be in place to protect workers. The HCLG encourages construction employers to adopt the principles of the hierarchy of control and to eliminate hazards from construction processes where possible.
The HCLG will continue to support and promote campaigns aimed at tackling respiratory disease, including the BOHS Breathe Freely Campaign, the IOSH No Time To Lose campaign, the Construction Dust Partnership and the HSE 'Go Home Healthy' campaign.
In addition, HCLG task groups are looking specifically at the areas of respiratory disease and design, and case studies and other information and messages coming out of these groups will be shared via this website as they become available.