Excelling in safety means making the well-being of workers a priority on the job site – Occupational health and safety


Excelling in safety means making the well-being of workers a priority on the job site

Leaving the job site pain-free for activities outside of work is essential for a healthy worker and a safer job site.

Some construction workers embody the ‘too hard to care’ mentality which includes an attitude that nothing terrible could happen to them. With this kind of behavior, discussions about wellness can seem irrelevant. The common perception is that seasoned construction workers should be able to deal with health and emotional issues, courageously persevering until the job is finished. The truth is, health and well-being are important to all workers, regardless of their industry. Many companies, especially construction, need to shed old perceptions and start taking a proactive approach to managing and protecting the well-being of their workforce and aligning the strategies found in the NIOSH Total Worker Health approach. (TWH) to make perfect business sense. TWH is defined as policies, programs and practices that integrate protection against occupational safety and health risks with the promotion of injury and illness prevention efforts to advance worker well-being.

Construction trends

Injury rate. Despite advances in construction safety, the industry continues to face high rates of injury and fatal and non-fatal accidents among its workers. Injury rates are 71% higher than in any other industry, with 1 in 10 workers injured each year and sadly 50% of these serious injuries go unreported.

Addiction.With staggering injury rates, it’s no surprise that workers in the construction industry are the most likely to abuse prescription opioids compared to other groups of employees, according to the study published by the Center for Drug use and HIV / HCV Research at New York University College of Global. Public health. The high rate of injuries and the physically demanding work can lead to treatment or self-treatment with pain relievers, alcohol or other addictive drugs.

Aging workforce and health.As with all industries, the baby boom generation is heading into retirement and fewer young workers are entering the industry. As a result, the average age of a construction worker is increasing and will continue to do so.

This article originally appeared in the July / August 2021 issue of Occupational Health and Safety.

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