|The theme for Tuesday of Construction Safety Week 2021 reflects all aspects of a person’s health and wellbeing, not least their physical and mental health. |
As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, we remember lives and loved ones lost but we also acknowledge our collective resilience in getting through difficult times. COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of health in our outlook for the present and for the future.
Construction Safety Week is an opportunity to reflect on aspects of safety, health and overall wellbeing and to promote its importance throughout the workforce. It is recommended to review past activities and to learn from successes, failures and near misses. By sharing experiences, we may eliminate avoidable accidents, enhance worker morale and increase productivity.
|Day 2. 26 October. |
Mental Health & Wellbeing
Mental health covers a wide range of issues, including mild or moderate anxiety and stress, drug and alcohol abuse and disorders such as severe depression and schizophrenia.
This year, we must acknowledge the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on society in general. All of our lives and routines have been affected by measures introduced to contain the virus and to protect the population.
18.5% of the Irish population has a mental health disorder.
- Suicide is the leading cause of death among young Irish men aged 15 to 24
- One in four deaths of young men aged 15-39 in Ireland is due to alcohol
- Alcohol is a factor in more than half of completed suicides in Ireland and over one-third of episodes of deliberate self-harm.
|The Lighthouse Club |
The Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity launched a free and confidential 24/7 helpline and wellbeing app on 3rd June last.
The 24/7 Construction Industry Helpline delivers an EAP (employee assist programme) to all construction workers and is complimented by an supporting helpline app. This App is available on both Android and Apple devices and is packed full of information, advice and guidance on mental, physical and financial wellbeing matters.
Further details can be got from the website https://www.constructionindustryhelpline.com
Employee Assist Programme (EAP)
All employees of MJ Conroy and their family members have access to the support services of Spectrum EAP. The service is totally confidential and available 24/7. Click on the image below for access to the website.
Also some great advise, podcasts and videos on the link below.
The Government’s Healthy Ireland’ Strategic Action Plan 2021-2025 outlines priority focus areas for the next 3 years, which include:
- Keeping active – being physically active is vital for our physical and mental health, and overall wellbeing throughout the year. The National Physical Activity guidelines recommend 30 mins. of moderate to vigorous physical activity, five days per week for adult. For more information, visit: Keep Well
- Staying connected – it is important to stay connected with people (whether family, friends, colleagues, neighbours or simply acquaintances) to prevent isolation of self and of others. It is recognised that all forms of engagement that support person-to-person connection is essential to our wellbeing. For more information, visit: HSE – Make Time for Family and Friends
- Switching-off and being creative – Experts suggest that being creative, learning something new, spending time in nature, and finding ways to relax can help our general wellbeing. GOV – Switching-off
- Eating well – the key messages from Healthy Food for Life are: (a) eat more vegetables, salad and fruit – up to seven servings a day, (b) limit intake of high fat, sugar and salt in food and drinks, (c) size matters – use the Food Pyramid as a guide for serving sizes, (d) increase your physical activity levels, and (e) small changes can make a big difference! For more information, visit: Healthy Ireland – The Food Pyramid
- Minding your mood – it is important that we each recognise when we are stressed and having trouble; this is a very normal occurrence, but we cannot ignore it and need to act. Experts advise developing a plan to help feel more in control, getting enough sleep, finding some quiet time for yourself each day, engaging in social activities and most importantly, seeking support. For more information, visit: GOV – Managing Your Mood
- Minding your body – it would be prudent to get regularly examined by your GP, the frequency of said examination would be determined by your GP based on your health and age. Your GP can refer you to hospitals and medical services for urgent and specialist treatment. Additionally, you can access community health and personal social services through your Local Health Office
- Healthy Workplaces – in the context of construction, there are aspects of our work that need to be considered when designing for health workplaces. Examples include: manual handling, use of silica products.
- Ergonomics/ Manual Handling – ergonomics is the term assigned to assessment of physical risks to the human body such as excessive force, awkward posture, and repetition of tasks. The goal is to develop better ways of carrying out work, to ensure that workers do not pose a risk to their musculoskeletal health by acting outside of their physical capabilities (e.g. lifting excessively heavy materials or lifting repeatedly).
- Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) – Crystalline silica is a naturally occurring substance typically found in stone (particularly sandstone, shale, granite, and slate), in the sand and in products such as bricks, tiles, concrete and cement. Where concrete, stone or sand-based materials are altered (during formation, cutting, drilling, polishing or demolition) and made airborne, there is a potential for exposure to RCS dust. When any dust is inhaled, its point of deposition within the respiratory system is very much dependent upon the range of particle sizes present in the dust; the respirable fraction (smallest particle size) of crystalline silica dust can penetrate deep into the lungs. The advice given is to:
- Always assume that exposure is likely to occur and protect according to the level of risk identified from risk assessment
- Prepare written risk assessments (required by law) highlighting the key hazards, risks, and controls in place
- Use safe systems of work to reduce exposure based on the risk assessment.
- Use dust suppression techniques during work.
- Use of engineering controls such as local exhaust ventilation to control exposure can be very effective.
- Use and store personal protective equipment according to instructions to reduce exposure
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