12916784_sUK: Almost three quarters of building services firms claim to actively manage occupational health, according to a new industry survey.

The survey was produced by the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) and the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) in conjunction with Constructing Better Health, the national scheme for the management of occupational health in the construction industry.

Of the 72% that said they managed occupational health, some 82% cited a ‘moral duty’ as a key reason for doing so, while just over half (51%) said it also helped to show the sector was ‘a great place to work.’ Many respondents also said that managing occupational health led to a more productive workforce, with better staff retention (77%), and less absenteeism (84%).

The main on-site occupational health hazards were found to be manual handling (96%), noise (94%), and asbestos (93%).

“We are encouraged by the results of this survey because it shows that employers take occupational health issues seriously,” said BESA technical director Tim Rook. “However, while it is correct to say we have made impressive strides forward on safety, we still have some way to go on health.

 

“We have a growing skills shortage. Improving our image and really caring about our workforce, whether in the office or on site, is essential if we are to attract the diverse workforce we need to deliver projects to a high standard and meet ambitious future construction targets.”

ECA business director Paul Reeve cautioned: “The response to this survey has yielded some very useful data but we are also mindful that, generally speaking, those who responded may already be ‘switched on’ and there is much more to do across the sector.”