691 Mental stresses and strains in construction sector employees

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Abstract

Introduction

In 2014, the mental and behavioural disorders diagnosis group accounted for 79 mill. days of incapacity to work and 43% of retirements due to partial disability (Health and Safety at Work Report 2014). In addition to individual dispositions and serious incidents, stresses in the working environment are other causes considered. Among other things, due to the acceleration of manufacturing and communication processes and increasing mobility requirements, the latter are increasing overall. The BG BAU ASD surveyed employees in the construction sector to find industry-specific approaches to preventing mental stress.

Methods

In spring 2016, the BG BAU ASD surveyed 5658 employees in the construction sector nationwide on mental stresses and strains and on their own quality of life as part of routine check-ups. Participation in the survey was voluntary. As the survey was of the construction sector, men accounted for 93% of participants. Accordingly, only the results of the 5286 men are presented. External data and older internal data are also presented as a comparison.

Results

56% of the men were under 45 years old and 44% were between 45 and 65 years old. Sufficient numbers of employees from the building construction, civil engineering and interior construction sectors took part in the survey. Approx. 30% have management responsibilities. Of the 16 stresses participants were asked about, the most common by order of occurrence: intense concentration, tension (52%), high responsibility (56%) and time or deadline pressure, rushing (61%). 28% described their overall health as excellent or very good, with a significant age discrepancy (≤24: 54%;≥55: 9%). 19%/14% reported that they accomplished less at work or in everyday tasks due to their physical or mental health.

Discussion

The results show that in addition to familiar physical stresses like dust, noise and lifting and carrying heavy loads, construction work also involves mental strains that are not sufficiently recognised. Accordingly, this is not sufficiently prioritised in prevention measures in practice, also due to the complexity of the subject matter. The results offer sector-specific arguments and will help provide focused advice to employees and entrepreneurs by company doctors.

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