Discuss about the Stress Causes Substantial Labour Productivity.
According to Jayakrishnan, Thomas, Rao & George (2013), the construction industry is one of the most flourishing and leading industries across the globe. The construction workers have to work in extremely unfavourable working conditions (Torén & Järvholm, 2014). Construction workers have been found to be at a high risk of developing chronic diseases like diabetes (Dong, Wang & Largay, 2015). The construction industry has also been criticised for its risky occupational setting. It is has been found that despite the strong performance of the construction industry, the rising incidence of injuries continue to remain a problem (Hosseini, Chileshe & Zillante, 2014). Studies have shown that working in such onerous occupational setting takes a toll on the mental health of the construction workers (Sousa, Almeida & Dias, 2014). Keeping in mind the largely outdoor occupational setting of construction work, the incidence of heat related stress and the psychological damage of the construction workers have become quite common. Therefore, the objective of this review of literature is discuss and reflect upon studies that have addressed this issue among the construction workers. The examination of the literature on this issue would be helpful in fathoming the veracity of the situation and pave path for risk reduction measures in compliance with the construction industry.
Boschman et al., (2013), in their work on Psychological work environment and mental health among construction workers encapsulates the emerging issue of psychological risk factors among the construction workers. The authors argue that there have been extensive research on the plight of health of the construction labourers. However, there have been limited studies on the ubiquitous psychosocial risks among the construction workers. The method adopted for his study was questionnaire survey. The sample population for the survey comprised of 750 construction supervisors and 750 bricklayers who were randomly chosen from the Dutch Registry. The bricklayers who were chosen for the research were responsible for the construction of new buildings. The study was interested to understand the age, the characteristics of job, the psychosocial work characteristics, safety issues, and the effects of mental health on the construction workers. Logistic regression was used to analyze the connection between self-reported condition of mental health and the psychosocial factors of the occupation. It was found that the bricklayers has experienced extremely harsh working conditions, there are learning opportunities and there were future perspectives. In case of the construction supervisors, they experience psychological pressure from the and the need for recovery. The study found that the supervisors had greater mental health related problems as compared to the bricklayers. These psychological issues include post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, distress and post work recovery. It was revealed that the incidence of quantity and high work were associated with depression. In case of supervisors inadequate social support and limited scope of participation in decision-making were understood to be the cause of depression.
According to Zander et al., (2015), in their study on heat stress causes substantial labour productivity the issue of heat stress at the workplace is responsible for the reduction of labour productivity. Employing an approach derived from the health economics, it was found that self-reported issues of absenteeism at work can be attributed to the climatic conditions. The study is important because it is the first time that the effect of heat related stress and its implications on work was studied. Earlier there have been studies on the tendency of Thai workers to be injured during their work. The importance of the study can also be understood as it is the first time in Australia; a study was interested in understanding the cost of heat related stress. The study found that a number of 1214 construction workers were extremely stressed out and became 35 per cent less productive. The study also found the workers were stressed out for more than one occasion. To meet the requirements of the occupation, these construction workers have to compensate by working for longer hours on favourable climatic conditions. The study showed that 70 per cent of the sample population were less productive and 7 per cent of the population had to remain absent at least for a day. Another finding of the study was that there was a correlation between absenteeism and gender. It was reported that that men had to endure greater economic loss than women. This research will be helpful for the employers in devising strategies that would equip them to manage the impact of heat. One major limitation of the study which is also realized by the authors is that there is a need to focus on the underlying factors of the hot climate that influence absenteeism and presenteeism. There is a need to understand the impact of heat on the unpaid and informal economy. The authors have recommended the deployment of standardized questionnaire that would be useful in understanding the heat related stress and the psychological effect on the workers.
In the study titled Which environmental indicator is better able to predict the effects of heat stress on construction workers, Yin and Chan, (2015), argue that the occupational setting of the construction workers is exemplified by extremely hot and onerous working conditions. The authors have established different stress models and found that environmental indicators are the most appropriate ways of predicting the impact of health related stress on the construction workers. The method adopted by the authors was intensive field studies during the month of summer in Hong Kong in the year 2011 from July to August. The study was interested in examining the parameters of related to the physiological, work related, personal and environmental impact on the construction workers. It was MAPE (Mean Absolute Per centage Error) and the concept of Theil’s U inequality coefficient. Earlier studies have found that the most appropriate method to quantify climatic heat is to draw the adverse effects of heat in the backdrop of the thermal environment in which it occurs. The highlight of the research lies in its ability to identify the most sophisticated environmental indicator in the prediction of the implications of heat related stress on the construction workers. The findings from the study is useful for the construction industry and ancillary industries regarding the policies of working in extremely harsh climatic conditions. The study has been criticized for its selected sample size which has been considered as limited to make generalizations.
According to Xiang, Pisaniello and Hansen, (2014), the increase in frequency of heat due to the extremely humid conditions is becoming a rising occupational hazard for the construction workers. The study is important on the grounds that it demonstrate the impact of heat related stress on the the construction workers. The authors noted that there is a tendency to underreport and neglect the heat related stress faced by the construction workers. The authors conducted a survey of literature to examine the contribution of previous studies in the subject of heat related stress for the construction workers.
Xian et al., (2014), in their work titled ‘The impact of heatwaves on workers’ health and safety in Adelaide were interested to understand the impact of heatwaves on the construction worker’s health and safety. The study found that workers who are exposed to harsh weather conditions and have to work outdoor would make an injury claim of 6.2 per cent. The authors recognized that with the rise in temperature, there is an imperative to address the issue by adapting to the specific weather conditions and adopting preventive measures suitable for policy implementations and practise.
The Work Health and Safety Legislation, 2011 in Australia has enshrined that there is a need for a nationally uniform and pragmatic framework that ensures the safety of the workers and provides security of their health (Work Health and Safety Act 2011, 2018). The guideline states that the government si committed towards the protection of the workers associated with different industries and strives to eliminate the risks that may emerge due to the nature of the occupational settings.
The guideline states that the government encourages the unions the organizations of the employers to look into the sector of work and safety practises. The government is committed towards the training and education of the construction workers concerning their occupational health and safety.
In addition, to these the government will persistently aim for the improvement of the standards of work health and safety. The government guideline further states that it is committed towards maintenance and strengthening of the national laws that would foster a national approach for improvising on the health and safety jurisdiction in Australia.
The review of literature show that the impact of heat related stress on the workers is quite severe and these affect their productivity. Stress not just affects the productivity of the workers but also add to their economic burden, as they have to make more injury claims. Extreme climatic conditions under which the construction workers are expected to operate propels towards absenteeism of the workers. These absenteeism has a gender dimension as more women are absent than men. In case the workers are unable to work during the extreme weather conditions, they have to compensate by working on other days, thereby compromising on their leisure hours. This review of literature will be helpful to address the impact and veracity of heat related stress and the associated risks on the construction workers. It would be helpful in improving on the existing policies as enshrined in the Health and Safety Legislation 2011 in Australia. There is an urgent need to seek sustainable solution with the aim to mitigate the risks faced by the construction workers.
Reference and bibliography
Boschman, J. S., Van der Molen, H. F., Sluiter, J. K., & Frings-Dresen, M. H. W. (2013). Psychosocial work environment and mental health among construction workers. Applied ergonomics, 44(5), 748-755.
Dong, X. S., Wang, X., & Largay, J. A. (2015). Occupational and non-occupational factors associated with work-related injuries among construction workers in the USA. International journal of occupational and environmental health, 21(2), 142-150.
Hosseini, M. R., Chileshe, N., & Zillante, G. (2014). Investigating the factors associated with job satisfaction of construction workers in South Australia. Construction Economics and Building, 14(3), 1-17.
Jayakrishnan, T., Thomas, B., Rao, B., & George, B. (2013). Occupational health problems of construction workers in India. International Journal of Medicine and Public Health|, 3(4).
Sousa, V., Almeida, N. M., & Dias, L. A. (2014). Risk-based management of occupational safety and health in the construction industry–Part 1: Background knowledge. Safety Science, 66, 75-86.
Tixier, A. J. P., Hallowell, M. R., Albert, A., van Boven, L., & Kleiner, B. M. (2014). Psychological antecedents of risk-taking behavior in construction. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 140(11), 04014052.
Torén, K., & Järvholm, B. (2014). Effect of occupational exposure to vapors, gases, dusts, and fumes on COPD mortality risk among Swedish construction workers: a longitudinal cohort study. Chest, 145(5), 992-997.
Work Health and Safety Act 2011. (2018). Legislation.gov.au. Retrieved 11 April 2018, from https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2017C00305
Xiang, J., Bi, P., Pisaniello, D., & Hansen, A. (2014). The impact of heatwaves on workers? health and safety in Adelaide, South Australia. Environmental research, 133, 90-95.
Xiang, J., Bi, P., Pisaniello, D., & Hansen, A. (2014). Health impacts of workplace heat exposure: an epidemiological review. Industrial health, 52(2), 91-101.
Yi, W., & Chan, A. P. (2014). Which environmental indicator is better able to predict the effects of heat stress on construction workers?. Journal of management in engineering, 31(4), 04014063.
Zander, K. K., Botzen, W. J., Oppermann, E., Kjellstrom, T., & Garnett, S. T. (2015). Heat stress causes substantial labour productivity loss in Australia. Nature Climate Change, 5(7), 647.