12th July 2021

Preventing Stress in the Construction Workplace

Stress, depression and anxiety are the second biggest cause of work-related ill health in the construction industry. The earlier this problem is tackled, the less impact it will have on workers and business. Taking positive action can help to create a more engaged workforce, boost productivity and save money.

Work-related stress is not an illness, but it can make you ill. HSE defines stress as ‘the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them’. Workers feel stress when they can’t cope with pressure and other issues. It can affect people differently – what stresses one person may not affect another. Starting the conversation is an important first step in preventing work-related stress.

Acting on work-related stress also helps to address some key aspects relating to mental ill health. The two often go together as work-related stress can aggravate an existing mental health problem, making it more difficult to control. However, they can also exist independently.

Some aspects of mental health therefore fall outside of work-related stress, but the construction industry has introduced its own wider initiatives to help promote positive mental health and support those in need.

There are six main themes linked to work-related stress; Demands, Control, Support, Relationships, Role, Change.

Managers are encouraged to start simple and practical conversations in these areas and by doing so, will be taking steps to reduce pressure, manage potential stressors and limit the negative impact work might be having on staff.

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