The APS attended the high-level gathering of the Health in Construction Leadership Group in London on Thursday (27-01-2017). The group met at the Royal Institution to provide a progress report on work since the group met last year and committed the industry as a whole to tackling ill-health.
HSE chairman Martin Temple spoke powerfully about the need to tackle ill-health. He gave bottom line reasons – costs of around £1,000 per employee – to illustrate the economic, as well as the health case, for addressing the issue. The APS puts health at the heart of what it advocates recognising that while accidents may grab the headlines, ill-health can have shattering effects on individuals and their families as well as real cost implications for our members.
One of the highlights of the event was the launch of Mates in Mind, an initiative led by the Health in Construction Leadership Group and supported by the British Safety Council, to raise awareness of mental ill health in the construction industry. The campaign hopes to reach as many as 100,000 employees in its first year and that, by 2025, three-quarters of the industry will be well equipped to promote positive mental health. With one in six people in the workplace experiencing a mental health issue at some point in their lifetime, the Centre for Mental Health estimates that 91 million working days are lost each year, a cost equivalent to all UK employers of £26bn, underlining why it is so important for the APS to fully support this campaign.
Yesterday’s launch saw over 300 construction leaders coming together at the Health in Construction Leadership Group Summit to tackle the stigma associated with mental health through employer support and sharing of information.
The Mates in Mind programme will offer senior managers the opportunity to receive two full days of training and construction site supervisors will be given a morning of training in mental health awareness. Individual workers will also receive 45 minutes of training.
Clive Johnson, one of the founding members and chair of the HCLG and Group Head of Health, Safety and Security at Land Securities, said: “With suicide causing ten times more deaths than accidents on sites, it is imperative that the industry is truly aware of the deeply impactful consequences of un-addressed mental health issues.”
Mates in Mind is led by the Health in Construction Leadership Group in which the APS is an active player. The campaign is supported by the British Safety Council and a number of leading firms, such as Balfour Beatty, Careys and Willmott Dixon, have already signed up.
Lesley McLeod, CEO of the APS said: “APS is proud to be associated with this project and is committed to helping highlight to our members how mental health - although often invisible - is every bit as real, life-limiting and serious as physical ill-health.”
Bobby Chakravarthy, President of the APS said: "The Association for Project Safety supports the aims of Mates in Mind to help raise awareness of the importance of good mental health in construction. Around one in six construction industry workers are unwell at any time but too often their mental health issues are below the radar. APS believes good mental health is good business sense as well as vital for workers right across the construction sector."
We will keep you updated about Mates in Mind as the project progresses.