Managing stressful issues in construction
According to the 2020 Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report, Work-related stress, anxiety or depression statistics in Great Britain, stress, depression or anxiety account for 51% of all work-related ill health cases and 55% of all working days lost due to work-related ill health. Stress impacts on the construction industry as well as other sectors and businesses of all sizes. Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, employers have a legal duty to protect employees from stress at work by conducting a risk assessment and acting on findings.
Evidence shows that there are six key factors which, if not properly managed, are associated with poor health, lower productivity and increased accident and sickness absence rates within all types of workplaces:
- Demands: workload, work patterns and the work environment.
- Control: how much say the person has in the way they do their work.
- Support: encouragement, sponsorship and resources available to workers.
- Relationships: promoting positive working to avoid conflict and dealing with unacceptable behaviour.
- Role: whether people understand their role within the organisation and whether the organisation ensures they do not have conflicting roles.
- Change: how change (large or small) is managed and communicated.
 Rates of stress and depression
Work-related stress, depression and anxiety have increased in recent years. This is due to factors associated with health, employment, the environment, the economy and other pressures. Employers are being urged to review stress-causing factors in their workplaces and the work that their employees are being asked to do.
The organisation also has an automated stress indicator tool (SIT) that measures the attitudes and perceptions of employees towards work-related stress. SIT provides anonymous feedback and is designed to capture information that can help determine the extent to which work-related stress is a problem within an organisation. It is free to pilot for up to 50 employees.
HSE’s mobile app is primarily designed for small and medium sized businesses, helping them better understand the law, their health and safety rights and their responsibilities in terms of employee protection requirements.
NB Mental Health and Wellbeing Research - Final Report, published by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) in August 2021, defines stress as: ‘The degree to which you feel overwhelmed or unable to cope as a result of pressures that are unmanageable.’
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- 37% of SMEs suffer mental health problems due to pay issues.
- COVID-19 and mental health within construction firms.
- Empowering the construction industry to take action on mental health.
- Health and safety for building design and construction.
- Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
- Mental health.
- Tackling mental health issues in construction.
- Understanding and managing workplace stress is critically important to civil engineers.
- Wellbeing and the role of a facility manager.
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