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It’s no secret being a tradie is a very physically and mentally demanding job, with long workdays and weeks placing the body under intense physical and mental strain. 

Worker fatigue is one of the biggest hazards on-site. Fatigue can come in many different forms and be caused by a number of different factors. While fatigue may not be avoidable in today’s busy cycle, it is important we recognise the signs of fatigue and the steps we can take to reduce it.

Because at the end of the day, a tired worker is a dangerous worker. 

Responsibilities for managing fatigue 

When you are fatigued, you are less alert and aware of your environment; this can lead to an increased risk of errors, resulting in injuries or incidents on-site. 

When working on-site, it is both the Employers and the Worker’s responsibility to recognise and reduce worker fatigue. 

Employers

As an employer on-site you are required to provide a safe working environment, and that includes reducing fatigue. Here are a few strategies for ensuring everyone stays fresh: 

Workers

Everyone is personally responsible for turning up every day in the best mental and physical conditions possible so that what you do on-site doesn’t affect the health and safety of others. Here are some tips:

Practical steps for managing fatigue seasonally

Our bodies operate differently during the cooler and warmer months. During winter, fatigue levels tend to increase. With the colder temperatures, longer nights and reduced sunlight, our bodies naturally tend to shut down earlier in the day. During summer, we benefit a lot from longer days and more sunlight, however we need to consider fatigue due to hot weather and maintaining our hydration levels.

Here are a few steps you can take.

Fatigue is something that we all face in our busy work lives and it is often unavoidable.

However, it is critical we can recognise the signs of fatigue in ourselves or someone on-site and take the necessary steps to prevent fatigue-related problems from happening.

Health can often be overlooked in the construction industry, but it’s a big contributor to time off work and workers compensation costs across Australia. Both physical and mental health risks can significantly impact the health of your workers and negatively impact your business if not taken seriously.

Physical Health

Musculoskeletal injuries

Work-related musculoskeletal injuries account for the majority of workers compensation costs in Australia compared to any other type of injury. Musculoskeletal injuries account for 37% of serious claims in Australia*.

Work-related musculoskeletal injuries can arise from body stressing such as:

Common injuries for construction workers can range from sprains, strains, and bruising which can be caused by heavy lifting, repetitive movement, poor body posture, forcefulness or muscle effort, or the vibrations from continuous use of hand tools. It’s important to note that these types of injuries can occur suddenly or develop over a period of time. Symptoms of a musculoskeletal injury may be in the form of pain and/or discomfort located in and around the neck, shoulders, wrists, back, and knees. 

There are many factors to consider when it comes to managing the risks associated with body stressing, however two key areas you can focus on are:

Physical factors:

Work Organisation factors:

Prevention Tips

Some effective ways to help prevent these types of injuries include:

For more information on musculoskeletal injuries, refer to one of our recent blogs on What treatments might look like and prevention tips. 

Health Monitoring

Did you know businesses are legally required to monitor the health of their workers in certain circumstances?

On construction sites, workers can be exposed to many hazards that can cause them harm over time. Some common hazards are: 

Continuous exposure to these hazards can cause progressively worse health issues for your workers. This is why it is important to monitor your worker’s health where there may be a risk to their health. How monitoring is conducted can vary based on the hazard they may be exposed to. For example it may involve a hearing test, lung function or vision assessment. 

If your worksite exposes your workers to environments that can cause them harm, we recommend beginning the process of monitoring your worker’s health. 

Mental Health 

Workplace hazards that create risks of harm to psychological (mental) health are known as psychosocial hazards. These hazards, when excessive or prolonged, can cause serious harm.  It can have a significant impact on workers, their families and business. 

Construction workers are six times more likely to die from suicide than an accident at work. Every year 190 Australians working in the construction industry take their own lives; this means we lose a construction worker every second day to suicide. Young construction workers are two times more likely to take their own lives than other young workers. Workplaces have a legal responsibility to manage risks to mental health and wellbeing just like they do any other health and safety risk.

Psychosocial hazards can come from:  

Some work-related factors that can affect a mentally healthy work site include:

Knowing where to start can feel overwhelming but getting started doesn’t have to be. Take action to improve the mental health of your team today. Identifying risks and controlling them should be done by communicating with workers about what workplace conditions may be affecting their mental health. 

Some other tips to help build and maintain a mentally healthy work site include: 

To learn more,  we have developed a great resource on How to build a mentally healthy work site which provides useful tips to help build and maintain a mentally healthy work site.

The hidden costs to your business

There is a large range of costs that surface when someone has an incident on the job that impacts their physical or mental state, especially when they can’t return to work the next day or sometimes for weeks or months. This can have a huge impact on deadlines, bottom line, skills on-site and team dynamics.

How HazardCo can help

Get the best from your team and work safer and healthier. Some simple ways to do this include: 

If you have any further questions in regards to this topic or need more support, reach out to HazardCo and speak to one of our expert Health and Safety Advisors. You can contact us on 1800 954 702.

* Safe Work Australia reporting period of 2019 – 2020.

Taking care of your mental health can be difficult, as sometimes you don’t even know you are struggling until you are in the thick of it. Even though we all respond to mental health differently, there are some common signs to look out for. There are also some recommended things we can do to improve or manage our mental health.

Here are some common signs that you may be struggling with your mental health: 

  • Difficulty sleeping, or sleeping too much
  • Feeling sad or down. 
  • Not enjoying things you usually would
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Feeling anxious or worried constantly
  • Mood swings
  • Excessive drinking, taking drugs, or violence

These feelings and behaviours can be onset by a variety of life events or stressors such as; work-related stress, dealing with Covid-19 restrictions, financial concerns, relationship troubles, and many more. If we have been through a tough time or are aware that we aren’t feeling quite right there are some tools we can use that can improve our mental health. Using these tools to proactively manage our mental health is a great idea but it is also useful if you are currently struggling with your mental health.

Here are some common things people do to manage their mental health:

  • Connect with people – Family, Friends, Workmates, Team Mates
  • Be Active – Go for a walk or to the gym. Get out in nature
  • Prioritise Sleep – Sleep has a big impact on mental health
  • Talk to people you trust – Sharing the good and bad in life helps build a trusted community and support group around you.
  • Take a break – Schedule in time to rest, recover or energise yourself. Find what helps make you feel like yourself.
  • Eat well – A healthy diet and staying hydrated can help mental wellbeing

These tools and many more can all help you take care of your mental health. If you notice a colleague or friend is struggling or going through some tough life events, reach out to them and see how they are going. They could benefit from some of these tools or at very least a friend. Remember that taking care of yourself mentally is hard and you don’t need to do it on your own. Reach out to your family and friends or a doctor to talk about your mental health. If you are struggling there is help out there, below is a list of some places you can call if you need support.

  • Lifeline – 13 11 14
  • Beyond Blue – 1300 22 4636
  • Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467

Did you know that one in six Australians is currently experiencing depression, anxiety or both? The construction industry employs more than 625,000 people across Australia, making it one of the biggest employers in the country, this means that there is a good chance that you or someone you work with is struggling with or at some stage has struggled with their mental wellbeing.  

 

There are some pretty shocking stats that show how mental health and wellbeing affects Aussies:

  • 1 in 4 Australians are lonely and have no-one to speak to
  • Workers in the construction industry are six times more likely to die by suicide than through workplace accidents
  • It’s estimated that 45 percent of people will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime
  • In any one year, around 1 million Australian adults have depression, and over 2 million have anxiety

 

We are increasingly more aware that mental health and wellbeing is a serious issue that affects so many of us. When people are struggling with their mental health and going through a rough time it can be hard for them to seek help or talk about it. We can look out for our friends and colleagues because we know there is a good chance that at least one of them may need someone to talk to. 

 

Poor mental health and well-being come in many shapes and sizes but there are some common signs to look out for. It typically looks like a change in behavior rather than a one-off incident or if they are just ‘having a bad day’. If you see any of these signs or changes in behaviour it might be time to reach out to your friend or workmate:

  • A talkative or sociable person pulling away or isolating themselves
  • Normally relaxed or easy going but now are agitated or aggressive
  • Coming in to work late or not at all
  • Finding it hard to cope with day to day things
  • Finding it hard to concentrate or finish tasks
  • Using alcohol and/or drugs to cope

 

If you see these signs, your friend or workmate might need a helping hand. They might need you to check in on them and see how things are going. This can be hard and scary if you don’t know what you are doing when dealing with mental health and wellbeing. Reaching out to someone who is struggling can be the first step towards getting them the help that they need. You don’t have to be an expert, you just have to be a friend. 

 

Fortunately for us in Australia, there are so many organisations that exist solely to help people with their mental health and well-being. If you see someone struggling, encourage them to get in touch with one of these organisations for more help. If you need more guidance in dealing with the situation you can call too. Here is some of the places (there are more) you can contact if you or a friend are struggling with mental health:

  • Lifeline – 13 11 14
  • Beyond Blue – 1300 22 4636
  • Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467


For more resources on how to check in on a workmate download the free guide from RUOK? Here 

The year’s end has snuck up on us once again, bringing the added pressure of work deadlines, projects, social events, and family commitments.

With these additional pressures occupying our headspace over the festive season, injury rates and incidents tend to increase. The team at HazardCo have a few tips on ways to manage your stress, energy levels, and overall wellbeing at this busy time.

Deadlines – short deadlines for projects and pressure to reach end-of-year-goals can add additional stress to the holidays and cause health and wellness to fall by the wayside. As always, communicate early on, and involve everyone in the project timeline and any dependencies… that way time pressures become a shared problem. And if you do have a looming deadline you don’t think you can make, now’s the time to start talking about it and looking at options with your wider team and client.

Temporary Workers – great for covering annual leave and busy periods, these staff members are often at a higher risk as they don’t have the experience or knowledge of processes specific to your workplace. If you engage temporary workers to cover annual leave or busy periods, it is important that they are inducted correctly, and receive full and correct safety instructions and supervision for any work with machinery or unfamiliar tasks they may be doing.

Social Events – whether it’s purely a social catch-up, or an end of year work party, remember to drink responsibly; monitor and manage alcohol provided to staff, and never drink and drive. This way everyone can have a safe and enjoyable time celebrating their achievements throughout the year.

So, whether you are actively working, or in the midst of the holiday season, try to stay focused on the job at hand, and pay close attention to the task you are performing.

The HazardCo team wishes you all the best for a safe and happy holiday season and look forward to catching up in 2022!

It’s no secret being a tradie is a very physically and mentally demanding job, with long workdays and weeks placing the body under intense physical and mental strain.  Worker fatigue is one...
Health can often be overlooked in the construction industry, but it’s a big contributor to time off work and workers compensation costs across Australia. Both physical and mental health risks ...
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Taking care of your mental health can be difficult, as sometimes you don’t even know you are struggling until you are in the thick of it. Even though we all ...
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Did you know that one in six Australians is currently experiencing depression, anxiety or both? The construction industry employs more than 625,000 people ac...
The year's end has snuck up on us once again, bringing the added pressure of work deadlines, projects, social events, and family commitments. With these additional pressures occupying our h...