Implementing health promotion programs in the Australian construction industry: Levers and agents for change
Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to identify possible agents and levers to trigger the development and implementation of work place health promotion programs (WHPPs) in the Australian construction industry. Unlike most large workplaces and most high-risk workplaces, these programs are rarely found in the construction sector. Design/methodology/approach: Qualitative interviews with 80 trades workers and site-based and off-site construction managers are used to reveal perceptions of the impact of WHPPs and ill-health and poor health behaviors on site activities with a view to identifying leverage points to introduce WHPPs in construction. Findings: Unhealthy lifestyle behaviors are seen as impacting on sites in three main ways: productivity (broadly defined), safety and interpersonal relations. Results also reveal specific roles and levers for different actors in the supply chain and a clear desire for a collective, industry-based response to identified health problems. Practical implications: High levels of chronic diseases in the construction industry means firms within the sector must make a concerted attempt to change patterns of behavior or face significant long-term health implications for their workforce. Reducing levels of health and longevity of the workforce, mean work performance, productivity and participation is likely to decline. Originality/value: Although construction workers are recognized as one of the workforces at most risk for life limiting diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, relatively little work has investigated health and well-being considerations for construction workers. This study contributes by investigating possible levers and agents to create healthier workplaces in construction.
Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management
Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety