Posted: Wednesday 15 May 2019
Despite the many benefits of working in the scaffolding industry, such as high work satisfaction and the great team spirit that often comes with such work, scaffolding professionals can also be prone to stress. In this post, we will explore how to protect against work-related stress and boost wellbeing in the scaffolding sector.
First and foremost, a healthy environment is dependent on ensuring that mental health and stress are discussed openly. Workers should be made aware that support is available to them, and that they can come and discuss any stress or problems with management. A supportive work environment will help protect workers against stress and burnout.
Good management should care of the mental health of their workers. You should teach managers to spot stress, burnout and unhappiness in their workers. Every manager should be aware of these common warning signs: showing up to work late, isolation from a group, forgetfulness and lack of concentration, and irritation or a negative mood.
Everyday working stress is a common occurrence in every sector, but mounting and ongoing stress can easily snowball into depression - especially for workers prone to this common mental health condition. Women are particularly vulnerable, suffering from depression twice as often as men. However, suicide is the leading cause of death in men under 50. This suggests that men can often struggle with depression in silence due to the social pressures and stigma surrounding the discussion of mental health problems and emotions among men.
This stigma can be particularly felt in male-dominated industries in which there is a strong association with certain social norms, such as the construction and scaffolding industry, as Construction Manager note:
“In a workforce that is predominantly male, specific risks associated with male mental health also need to be considered. The "tough guy" image widespread in the construction industry is very much to blame. Asking for help and opening up about emotions are just not things that come naturally to many of those working in the industry. The combination of these factors results in many suffering in silence.”
As such, a strong and supportive work environment in which mental health is openly discussed and un-stigmatised can go a long way in ensuring scaffolding workers have the support they need and feel that they will be treated fairly and with compassion if they are struggling with depression and stress.
If a manager sees that a worker is struggling, it’s important to reach out to them to offer support. Address the issue in private and ask if there is anything that can be done to help. Point workers to external support, such as the charities Mind or Anxiety UK, or suggest a visit to the GP to ask about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy - the most effective treatment currently available for stress and depression.
Healthy work environments make all the difference to construction workers struggling with stress, burn out, and unhappiness at work. With mental health being a common experience in the industry, it’s all the more important to take the necessary steps to protect the mental health of your workforce.