B&CE gathers responses to consultation on occupational health framework
B&CE have been working hard to develop a new, simplified occupational health scheme that works for the construction industry. This summer, they consulted with the industry on the proposed framework, a three-year plan that clarifies the complex health and safety legislation that employers need to comply with. By implementing it, employers will have confidence that they are legally compliant, and that workers’ health is being consistently assessed as they move from job to job. The framework was developed in collaboration with an Occupational Health (OH) Steering Group made up of employers, occupational health professionals, regulators and Federations.
Through both face-to-face events and an online consultation, B&CE received feedback from contractors, clients, occupational health service providers and individual workers. Respondents commented that the framework provides a simple, clear and robust approach to managing workers’ health. Many agreed that the term ‘Safety Critical Worker’ has caused confusion, leading to overuse, and that removing it would be beneficial. B&CE’s proposed approach ensures that the effects of health conditions will be appropriately considered for everyone undergoing a framework assessment.
Respondents also challenged B&CE on a variety of points, including the proposed framework cycle, legal compliance, availability and accessibility, training and of course, cost. These points are all being considered as they develop the next iteration of the framework.
A number of respondents asked why mental health is not included in the framework. Raising awareness of, and improving mental health outcomes, is vital for an industry with worrying levels of stress, anxiety and suicide rates. However, there is no one, simple, evidence-based way for occupational health professionals to assess the many types and forms of mental health conditions. B&CE will continue to work with the OH Steering Group to review developments in this area, and include them when appropriate.
Chief Executive Patrick Heath-Lay commented, “The industry is eager for a solution, and we are working hard to make sure we get one that is absolutely right. Work has started on the digital platform, as harnessing the power of technology is vital to achieving our goal of an efficient, cost effective solution. We’ve got a lot to do, and we will continue to collaborate with the industry as we make progress.”
B&CE are in the process of reviewing the feedback, revising and refining the framework, and will report back to the industry in due course.
You can keep up to date with developments at www.bandce.co.uk/occupational-health
13th November 2017