Construction companies can easily conduct their own workplace survey to measure the health of their setup using the healthy workers survey. It can be completed at any time, on any device and aggregated results will be provided after the survey is closed, providing the organisation with a summary of chronic disease risk factors.
The tool is particularly important for the construction industry, because compared with all other industries, construction workers have higher rates of smoking, harmful alcohol consumption, obesity levels and inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption. Since 2007, there have been some improvements, with construction workers smoking less, being more physically active and consuming less harmful alcohol levels. However, levels of poor nutrition, overweight and obesity continue to rise.
A snapshot of the 2021 healthy workers survey which was tallied recently from the input of more than 100 organisations and 1400 workers, shows the reported levels of chronic disease risk factors are similar to those reported in the Health of Queenslanders report from last year.
Smoking rates and harmful alcohol consumption continue to decline, but more needs to be done to improve physical activity and healthy eating.
As well as using the survey, and to help target worker wellbeing, workplaces can complete a snapshot of their workplace using the healthy workplace audit tool. The majority of workplaces which have completed the audit tool in the last 12 months have good health and wellbeing practices in place, including policies and procedures, physical work environment and worker focused strategies. The tool shows which areas need improvement for the organisation with regard to leadership commitment and communication and consultation.
Organisations which have completed these tools have prioritised their risks and implemented interventions.
One construction company used these tools to start the discussion on what a healthy workplace could look like. The changes it implemented addressed the risks identified and focused on reducing injury. The strategies included adjusting the roster scheduling to reduce weekend work, planning ahead to include kitchen facilities and providing shade and supporting workers with a paid quit smoking program and incentives for those who weren’t smokers.
Construction companies need to be vigilant about securing their sites as more people will be out and about – especially children. Children find a house at the frame stage a very exciting prospect because they can climb on it. And while it is exciting seeing a new house being built and watching a vacant block being transformed into someone’s dream family home, the dangers to unauthorised people accessing the site are very serious.