Construction is one of the most high risk industries not only in Australia but globally and it is always interesting and often helpful to look at how other countries handle their construction health and safety issues.
For example this week in the European Union, a campaign has been launched to address the issue of work-related stress. This is a particularly relevant topic as we have just observed World Mental Health Day and have also been talking a lot about stress and suicide in the construction industry.
This week saw the start of the 2014 European Week for Safety and Health at Work with a special emphasis on the Healthy Workplaces Campaign which takes place from October 20-24.
As we know mental health and effective stress management is one of the issues that has come to the forefront recently because it impacts so many lives and has resulted in so many suicides especially in the construction industry. That is why the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) has kept to the theme – Healthy Workplaces Manage Stress. They aim to encourage communication about stress and psychosocial risks in the workplace as well as how these issues can be addressed together.
When we take into consideration the number of lives lost each year because of suicide and the immense cost of mental health problems on the economy, it is important that we address the issue of mental health in the workplace.
In an article posted on OHS website PPConstructionSafety.com the Director of EU-OSHA, Dr Christa Sedlatschek was quoted as saying:
“This is an issue which can have enormous costs for both the health of employees and of businesses. With work-related stress being the second most frequently reported health problem in Europe and with costs to businesses of mental health disorders estimated at around 240 billion euros per year, this is something that we simply cannot afford to ignore. As is evident from the week’s full programme of events, our network across Europe is doing a good job to make sure employers and employees do take notice.”
On its website, EU-OSHA is providing help for its partners by providing numerous free resources including practical tools and the film ‘Napo in … When stress strikes’.
EU-OSHA, in collaboration with Eurofound, has also just published a new report ‘Psychosocial risks in Europe – Prevalence and strategies for prevention’.
We can learn from the resources provided by visiting the publications section of the campaign website and reading about the experiences of various policies and measures from around Europe at:
The article went on to explain more about the Agency and what they do:
The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) contributes to making Europe a safer, healthier and more productive place to work. The Agency researches, develops, and distributes reliable, balanced, and impartial safety and health information and organises pan-European awareness raising campaigns.
Set up by the European Union in 1994 and based in Bilbao, Spain, the Agency brings together representatives from the European Commission, Member State governments, employers’ and workers’ organisations, as well as leading experts in each of the EU-28 Member States and beyond.