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2019 - Mental Health in Construction Work

Short description of the action
Good working conditions and quality work are two sides of the same coin and there are various parameters influencing the overall work situation. Work processes are the interaction of people, man and machinery, information and psychological systems, between processing machinery and information to name just a few combinations. All these aspects may have an effect on our occupational activities and the psycho-mental strain. In this relation, we are witnessing a growing occurrence of psycho-mental illnesses in European countries.
So as to better understand the complexity of today's work situations, as described above, information on changes are needed. Unlike other (stationary) workplaces, a construction site is continuously changing. Construction is mobile, is executed under ever changing climate conditions, construction itself is permanently changing the environment and construction is furthermore confronted with various types of technology, often not standardised.
To better understand these specific conditions and developments, seven country reports were elaborated during the project. On this basis and after additional desk research, a research report was drafted also including conclusions and recommendations from the social partners.
The country reports, the research report and a stakeholder workshop provided the basis for the elaboration of a 'Guide', allowing people to evaluate working conditions and to take measures to reduce psychosocial risks.

Main objectives of the action

In general, we aimed at a closer cooperation of social partners at national and company level, especially when dealing with the topic of occupational health/psychosocial hazards. Therefore, we firstly needed to obtain a better common understanding on this specific field of health related hazards in our sector.
The specific goal of the project was to provide social partners with a better understanding on changes in the various occupations of construction work. This has been achieved by research on changes in construction work. The related research was based on desk research and on seven country reports, covering also different construction 'cultures'. The main aspects in this relation have been changes and tendencies regarding work organisation and work division; OSH structures; new technologies in terms of machinery or tools; hierarchy and communication in companies; qualification demands and structures; framework conditions such as forms of employment, the client contractor relation or subcontracting; changes in organisational structures or internal communication. A Report was published with the overall research results, including summaries of the country reports.
Based on the research, we developed a Guide for the evaluation and reduction of psychosocial risks in construction work, especially focusing on the situation in micro- and small enterprises. The guide is directed to all stakeholders on company level and we hope to foster the common understanding and practical action in this specific area of occupational health.

Key results
The key result of the action was the execution of a workshop and a final conference, the publication of a research report on psychosocial risks in construction work (available in English) and the publication of a Guide for the evaluation and reduction of psychosocial risks in construction work (available in Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Serbian and Spanish). The Research Report is based on desk research and on seven country reports. These national reports are available in English and (where written in another language) in its original language upon request.
The Guide is based on the assumption that the improvement of working conditions in the field of psychosocial risks is most successful if social partners focus on working conditions which they can directly influence at company level. The research proved that it is difficult to predict changes in working conditions because of the many influencing parameters and uncertainties in related future changes. The Research Report includes conclusions and recommendations of the project partners regarding the future work in this field, including their own future commitment.

The guide is available both in electronic and paper format in eight languages:
English Guide
German Guide
French Guide
Spanish Guide
Italian Guide
Dutch Guide
Serbian Guide
Polish Guide

The research report is available both in electronic and paper format in English:
English Research report

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