Constructing better health and wellbeing? Understanding structural constraints on promoting health and wellbeing in the UK construction industry
Hanna ES., Markham S.
Purpose The construction industry has high rates of work-related ill health. Whilst there have been more recent calls for a “health like safety” narrative within the industry, health has still predominantly been viewed via health risks rather than a more holistic conceptualisation of health and well-being. The workplace is viewed as a fruitful site for health promotion work, yet we know little about the possibilities and promise of health promotion within the construction industry. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach This paper explores the views of stakeholders with health-related roles and responsibilities within the UK construction industry. From the 21 semi-structured qualitative interviews, thematic analysis was conducted and two key themes emerged: the construction industry as anti-health promoting and understanding industry-specific health issues. Findings The construction industry faces significant constraint in attempting to promote better health and well-being due to its makeup, yet the health and well-being issues of the industry notably stress, and early retirement are major issues for both the industry and individuals. Practical implications The authors argue that only through understanding the structural constraints of the industry in this way can the possibilities and potentials for undertaking health promotion work be fully embedded within the industry in order to help create meaningful change for both employees and the industry as a whole. Originality/value This paper offers insight into the challenges that exist within construction for promoting positive employee health and well-being and takes an in-depth approach to exploring why health promotion may not be occurring within the industry.