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INDUSTRY LEADERS RISE TO “THINK HEALTH” CHALLENGE

hselogo1Collaboration and CONIAC ‘branding and sharing’ are way forward

Construction industry representatives on the Construction Industry Advisory Committee (CONIAC) have responded to a challenge from HSE to come up with views on issues on how to ‘think health’ and make ensure health risk issues are managed at least as seriously as safety risks.

CONIAC members were asked about health priorities to the industry and how CONIAC can make a difference. The responses reveal a number of common themes are reported:

  • hselogo1Respiratory risks and musculoskeletal disorders – cause most concern to both industry and the various CONIAC members / representative bodies. There is also a lack of knowledge about lead; and skin exposure issues including occupational dermatitis. A renewed focus on noise control is also needed;
  • Work related stress – is not currently a HSE priority but is recognised as one of the most significant issues for construction. It is suggested that mental ill-health causes more working days lost than any other health risk issue in construction;
  • Partnership working – many member organisations endeavour to pursue a policy agenda which aligns itself with HSE’s priorities and so are keen to collaborate and enter into appropriate partnership arrangements to collectively raise awareness of health risks and secure better workplace control;
  • Focused effort on agreed targetse.g. occupational cancers, raising awareness amongst certain trades, further training/guidance aids) is suggested as a means to ensure effective use of resource effort;
  • Improved collaboration – between client, designer and builder will help promote the ‘health like safety’ message and achieve a consistent level of minimum workplace standards;
  • Raising CONIAC profile – and strengthening the CONIAC ‘brand’ will improve visibility of the committee and its representative standing for the industry. It is recognised that CONIAC has a different, independent role to fulfil compared to HSE. Many recognise that CONIAC as a representative industry body has a pivotal role in demonstrating achievable workplace standards; and
  • Develop the CONIAC ‘brand’ – the committee could seek out and “congratulate” industry successes presented in a highlighted CONIAC health pages website. With appropriate launching through a targeted communications exercise by HSE and CONIAC member organisations this would help raise awareness and improve workplace standards. Distributing case study information in this way might also encourage those who are nervous of their dutyholder legal compliance duties but who have something ‘new’ to say.

 

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