Construction: Improving Worker Health and Productivity
- 25 Aug 2022
Construction work can be a necessary, but also dangerous business. The industry is a rewarding one for workers and can provide useful and lucrative skills – but can also present specific dangers that impact health and overall productivity. From a management perspective, these factors can harm the viability of a project – but what should you be looking out for?
The primary concern for any construction site manager or foreman is the physical safety of the site in question. An unsafe working environment poses direct risks to those working within it and can have a tangible impact on workplace productivity even if accidents are largely avoided.
In the event of an accident or injury, work on the site will necessarily slow – first, to administer proper care to the injured, and second, as a by-product of losing a worker to injury. But unsafe working environments can also affect motivation, as workers feel less comfortable on-site. There are also the physical barriers introduced through poor site management and trip hazards to contend with.
By keeping a robust health and safety procedure in place, and by correctly managing the storage and use of tools and materials, the site can be kept neat and tidy. Commonly used equipment can be kept in a tool chest on wheels, as opposed to left in awkward places on-site; materials can be kept in designated areas and away from high-traffic parts of the site.
Training goes hand in hand with a safe and tidy working environment; training puts all workers on the same page in terms of skills and knowledge and enables workers to more effectively follow best practices when it comes to health and safety.
Training programmes also serve to improve efficiency in workers, as regular training programmes prevent the internalisation of bad habits or poor working processes. Teams will work better together, and the quality of work will increase empathy.
Physical challenges are not the only ones that pose a risk to worker health and productivity in the workplace. Mental health has been an evergreen issue within workforces across industries, but one that only recently has been receiving the attention it is due – particularly in construction, where two workers die from suicide each day.
Work sites can be stressful, especially when a project has a tight deadline or difficult workload attached. Workers may be feeling stressed or may be experiencing anxiety over the workload they are faced with. Ensuring workers have access to break spaces and amenities can give them room to decompress; you should also ensure workers know where they can reach out for support.
Lastly, motivation does not occur in a vacuum. Workers may not need to be incentivised to show up, but they do need to be incentivised to do their best. By recognising the efforts of your team, you can inspire them all to give more to their work.