Construction workers are more than twice as likely to take their own lives than the general population,5 indicating that some workplace factors in the industry may be hazardous to the mental health of workers.
Early and supported recovery at work plays a critical role in promoting good mental health after an injury or illness occurs.
We are implementing the largest mentally healthy workplace strategy in this country's history. We need to better understand what factors in the workplace play a role in mental health and assist employers to take action and implement control measures to mitigate these risks. To do so, we will collaborate with leading experts in the mental health sector and utilise industry stakeholder groups to improve awareness and minimise the risk of psychosocial hazards.
Asbestos exposure is one of several ‘silent’ killers in the construction industry.
SafeWork NSW will develop and maintain a comprehensive asbestos and demolition strategy to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of workers is protected.
The strategy will include compliance and enforcement monitoring, as well as targeted audit programs for licensed asbestos removalists and asbestos assessors and key prevention programs to help raise awareness amongst industry and the community about the risks of exposure to asbestos.
SafeWork NSW has identified respirable crystalline silica as a priority chemical for the elimination and reduction of exposures to silica dust in the workplace.
Workers may breathe in silica dust if their work involves breaking, crushing or grinding materials that contain quartz. Tasks such as paving, surfacing, cement finishing, bricklaying, demolition, road construction and stone masonry all have an increased risk of silica exposure.
We are collaborating with industry leaders to establish clear compliance standards for controlling and managing silica exposures. Also, a monitoring and compliance inspection program will focus on tasks that can result in significant exposure in the construction sector.
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs)
Workers compensation claims identify muscular stress as the top cause of injury in the construction industry.
An MSD is an injury to, or disease of, the body’s musculoskeletal system and includes sprains and strains of muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints.
We will work with the building and construction industry to focus on ways of reducing a workers exposure to hazardous manual task risk factors in the workplace.
We will engage industry leaders to identify realistic and workable solutions, that can be implemented to protect workers from MSDs
5 Source: www.headsup.org.au/training-and-resources/news/2014/10/29/the-challenge-of-suicide-in-the-construction-industry