Northern Ireland’s construction and infrastructure industry must promote mental and occupational health in order to remain competitive. That was the take-home message at ICE Northern Ireland’s Building a Healthier Workforce, a conference organised by the ICE Northern Ireland Health & Safety group and sponsored by building and civil engineering contractor Farrans.
Each year, ill health costs UK workplaces an estimated £8-9 billion. Though many health and safety protocols exist already to protect construction workers and engineers from physical harm, the industry is also now focusing on mental and occupational health as part of workers’ overall wellbeing.
“Until recently, the mind-set was that employers were only responsible for preventing injuries and fatalities,” said Richard Kirk, Regional Director of ICE Northern Ireland. “However, workplace anxiety, stress, bullying and hostile work environments also have serious effects on people’s health and on company productivity.”
Northern Ireland has seen some positive steps around mental and occupational health, with more and more companies adopting policies and resources to better employees’ wellbeing. ICE is committed to ensuring that health remains a high priority in our industry.
“Civil engineers and construction workers build the infrastructure which sustains our quality of life,” Richard said. “It’s our responsibility to make sure that their quality of life is looked after, too.”