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Are you thinking about Occupational Health?

Planning ahead is essential for every business, right? You’d think so, but apparently not everyone has been able to get it into their heads that planning for situations to come is much easier than dealing with them when they happen. We’re always more than happy to point out the importance of “health” in health and safety for those who seem to forget that there’s more to it than just hard hats and yellow vests. There’s no reason why Occupational Health has to be all doom and gloom, there’s always an opportunity to have a bit of fun, while adhering to all the proper guidelines of course.

Occupational Health in our world carries a little more weight than it might in, let’s say for example, banking. Now this isn’t meant as a slight towards our banker friends out there, but the impact of site health and safety might be just a little more serious than what you might find in an office building. In construction, occupational health covers everything from the very short term of keeping everyone’s fingers attached, to the much more long-term impacts of illnesses like silicosis. For our industry both are just as serious, as we can see every day with the impact that workplace injuries have, and as we have seen with the silicosis epidemic, long-term injuries can be just as impactful.

Tradies have every right to be passionate about their health because it isn’t just them that will be affected. Family, friends and even the wider community are victims when lax regulations and guidelines lead to injury and illness, and if we don’t act to improve the situation now then it’ll only be other tradies who will fall victim to our inaction. Every tradie has the right to a voice in the process, and we know there are many who are able to make their voices heard, but our goal is for Occupational Health to be taken seriously by every company.

For a multi-billion-dollar industry, it shouldn’t be too hard to get some proper guidelines together with the input of the people who are affected by it, right? Well, we’d all be shocked, because even in the year 2020 we are seeing young professionals lose their lives because not enough attention has been paid to their safety.

Now, this isn’t meant to be a spiel about the negatives of today’s situation, but how everyone involved in construction can and should do their part to put Occupational Health at the very front of everyone’s minds. Businesses like US-based Procore have been working with the executives at top Aussie and Kiwi businesses to develop new regulations. We’re looking for every worker, from apprentices on their first day, to veteran tradies with careers spanning decades, to be able to engage in exactly the same way. Everyone should have a voice in these plans.

For the site owners and management reading who might be wondering what we think the solution is, it’s good planning and preparation. Planning for potential risks, how to minimise the chance of them happening, and how to deal with the outcome. It’s so much easier than blindly walking into these situations without a plan, at least in our humble opinion. Also, take your tradies’ opinions seriously! These lads and ladies know their surroundings better than anyone else, and if they’re telling you that it’s not safe to go across certain surfaces or to be around certain materials, listen to them!

Occupational Health isn’t something we can just tick off on a list and forget about. It’s an always changing, always developing aspect of construction that every professional should be thinking about throughout all of their career. The effects of occupational illness and injury don’t stop when the workday ends, so the dedication to health and safety shouldn’t stop at the worksite.

Here’s to making this sector a better place for everyone, together.

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