The revelation that 22 construction worker bullying complaints were made to the Fair Work Commission in 2016/17 makes it clear that this is an issue that needs to be addressed in the industry, particularly given that most incidents go unreported.
BeyondBlue recently pointed out that while we consider bullying an interpersonal issue, broader environment facts are often the key drivers, including poor organisation culture and poor leadership.BeyondBlue also points out that when people are put in roles that don’t suit them and aren’t given the appropriate support and resources, this can lead to stress.
In an article on News.com.au, it was pointed out that there methods that companies in Australia are using successfully to address this.
Pedro Diaz, founder of the Workplace Mental Health Institute said businesses can change workplace culture quickly and effectively.
“Some businesses are doing really well, others are not doing anything,”
“They can change the culture really quickly.
“People are learning from their workplaces, learning behaviour and taking those skills home to their family.
“We work in an agreed environment. We give our authority away, we sell our time for money. “We try to fit the culture of the workplace. If it’s a good one, great, but if not, you have to hide your values. Work can have such a profound impact.
“The relationship with the boss is very important … There’s the fear of failure — around doing a good job, and is my boss letting me know?”
He also stressed the importance of one on one conversations between employees and the boss.
BeyondBlue emphasised other strategies such as adjusting job design, improving the culture, increasing mental health awareness and building resilience.
They go on to provide advice on how to build a healthy workplace with,
1. Smart work design.
2. Building personal resilience with stress management and resilience training.
3. Developing a better work culture.
4. Increasing awareness of mental health in the workplace.
5.Supporting staff with mental health issues.
6. Encouraging early intervention.
They also suggest developing a better work-life balance by looking for a job that suits you and doing something you love, instead of something that just pays the bills.
Exercising, getting involved in outside interests and hobbies, practicing mindfulness and becoming part of something like a community group or volunteering are all ways to achieve a better work life balance.
One of the most stressful things about construction work, other than the deadlines are the risks. High risk work is more stressful, which is why safety is an important issue.
One of the ways to put safety first is through proper safety training, beginning with white card training which is mandatory for every person working in construction.
Employers also need to ensure every worker has received the necessary site specific and task specific training.