Can technology provide a solution to poor mental health in construction workers?
The capricious nature of the construction industry makes it an incredibly unpredictable and stressful place for many workers and in recent times, the uncertainties around potential lockdowns and national restrictions have only added to this unpredictability.
The industry is in desperate need of solutions to help combat this increased stress, and one area with great potential for improving the general mental wellbeing of workers is the recent advancement in technology use within their industry.
A survey conducted in 2021 by Constructing Excellence Southwest (CESW) showed that 62% of people working in construction were concerned about feeling stressed, with a further statistic suggesting male construction workers are three times more likely to commit suicide than the average UK male.
With increased workloads, due to a backlog caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the amount of complex project completion within short timeframes has increased, along with the risk of injuries and harm, causing more stress and unrest both in and out of the workplace.
Regardless, development in recent technology aims to alleviate some of the problems that construction workers are facing.
One advancement since the pandemic was an improvement in cloud-based communication. Projects can now be worked on collaboratively without the need to be on-site with shared access to documents and important information available remotely via online access. This allows for work to progress even with a backlog, reducing worker’s concern over having to be on-site to complete a task.
This isn’t the only progression for technology within the industry. Ownminder, an app set up by a collaboration of industry experts and personnel, provides strategies to support and provide advice for the mental health of construction workers. The app is available 24 hours a day and is accessible anywhere, meaning workers have support for their mental health wherever they are.
The stigma around mental health within the construction industry is still rife, so the opportunity to access mental health support anytime, anywhere is essential. Ownminder provides an alternative for workers who are not comfortable in talking to their superior, in relation to such issues. Again, relieving some of the stress and stigma.
Whether the technology helps the worker directly, via an app, or technology which allows them to work remotely, progress is being made. The security for workers of both being able to complete tasks regardless of accessibility to sites, as well as knowing they have support for their mental health, is a massive step forward for the industry.
“Ultimately, technology can relieve many pressures in a matter of minutes, if companies are willing to embrace it” states Steven McMenzie of Ed Controls UK. New technology within the construction industry has been somewhat overlooked, but now it seems there is a positive effect which it can have on the wellbeing of the industry.
Thanks to the development of such technologies during the pandemic, efficiency seems to be improving and the industry is looking forward when it comes to new technology, not backwards.
This of course benefits a company like Trolex, as now more than ever, health and safety technology is being taken seriously.
Not only are solutions being found to support the mental health of workers, but productivity is increasing overall, as well as collaboration and the reduction of risk. The effect which technology is having on the construction industry both mentally and physically on the construction industry should not be underestimated.
If you would like to read more about the psychological aspect of workers related to health and safety, please read more here.