Health and wellbeing are important drivers for our business. This is because we care about the people who work for us and with us.
We could stop there really. We see the wellbeing of our people as our moral responsibility. It would be a priority for us even if there was nothing else to be said.
But there is much more to be said about improving wellbeing in the infrastructure sector. We’ll summarise some of the main points here about how we’re embedding wellbeing into our culture and everyday working practice, as part of our key pillar of Learn, Grow & Thrive.
A changing industry
While there’s still much to do, the construction sector generally is addressing many of the longstanding issues around health and wellbeing. But first it’s worth touching on a few stark numbers published by the Lighthouse Club:
- Every day, two construction workers take their own lives.
- 30 fatalities on building sites last year.
- 27% of illness in the sector is down to stress, anxiety and depression.
- 82,000 cases of work-related illness per year.
Octavius aims to be at the forefront of moves to improve health and wellbeing across the sector and consign those types of statistics to history. We’re doing this through initiatives such as our acclaimed STOPThink! cultural change programme and ongoing training of mental health first aiders.
Building a healthier culture
There’s no doubt that culture is one of the biggest challenges the industry faces. Gradually, we’re transforming the image of a ‘tough industry for tough guys’ to one where admitting you are struggling is seen as a strength. Change is both possible and real if you nurture the right open and supportive culture.
Since we introduced STOPThink! our safety statistics are at an all-time low. Both National Highways and Network Rail have asked us to help roll the programme out across parts of their organisations.
We have trained 45 mental health first aiders so that help and support are always on hand – both for our own people and our supply chain partners. We also provide a 24/7 Employee Assistance Programme.
We also regularly take stock of wellbeing across our organisation through staff surveys and quarterly reviews where mental health first aiders share feedback and insights with Cat Cliffe, Director of People and Sustainability.
The importance of wellbeing is reinforced through regular staff training and our annual wellbeing calendar – where we focus on one aspect of wellbeing each month. Gradually we’re building a work environment where everyone feels able to ask for help, and where more people can spot the early signs of when help is needed. Our team on the Connect Plus framework is a core part of the award winning Healthier Highways programme.