Assistant Editor

June 18, 2019

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Health & wellbeing

Four key aspects of workplace wellbeing

Silvana Martin from Laing O’Rourke speaks on the company’s five year journey to improve health and wellbeing in the workplace.

Speaking on day 1 of Safety & Health Expo, Silvana said: “Five years ago, we found that information and engagement was lacking, health and wellbeing wasn’t really clear, and the lack of information limited the direction of the company”

To solve this, Laing O’Rourke put in and built a set of clear visions and objectives to follow, which included focusing on four key aspects of workplace wellbeing:

  • Healthy workplace. Providing leadership support, systems and processes, physical environment.
  • Fitness for work. Health surveillance, fitness to work and absence & ill health management.
  • Health risk management & Managing key risks. MSD, mental health, hand arm vibration, and noise induced hearing loss.
  • Mental health, lifestyle choices and awareness.

Physical environments were paid close attention too, because it is ever changing according to Silvana.

Musculoskeletal Disorders

Silvana explained that Laing O’Rourke carried out research to closely monitor employees’ biological risk onsite.

“We took a workforce of five and closely monitored them for eight hours, data showed us where there was high risk, for example back injury and necks.”

This information allowed the introduction of a new way of working, and implement a different strategies such as job rotations, develop a new handling manual for educational purposes, for employees to know how to use their body and posture and easy access to physiotherapy, where individuals can self-refer themselves.

Mental Health

“Mental health was the second biggest area of focus” said Silvana, with mental health outside working hours being considered as well as workplace mental health. “modern day life puts individual through stress outside of work” she added.

Laing O’Rourke implemented BUPA Health care, which enabled employees to access the programme in different formats for example, face-to-face, phone calls or emails depending on their comfortability.

They also recognised that people could be mentally affected by ill health of a family member or bereavement, so Laing O’Rourke put a service at work where employees can access consultations during working hours. And this was achievable by giving in-depth training to 173 metal health champions, and 91 mental health first aiders.


“We provided people with programs and campaigns that they can participate in”, an example of this is the Biggest Loser Best Improver campaign, she explained that in January employees’ will to try something new and change rises, and the popular change is losing weight. Laing O’Rourke created this campaign to help the employees that want to lose weight, as it will also improve productivity and performance at work.

Skin Cancer Awareness

Silvana stressed that more awareness needs to be raised on skin cancer for outdoor workers such as construction workers. Despite the weather climate in London not being sunny, construction workers can still be affected and in risk of skin cancer.

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Nigel Evelyn-Dupree
Nigel Evelyn-Dupree
4 years ago

Brilliant, just need to address the highly predictable visual disruptions experienced on a daily basis by 58% of Display Screen Operators over-exposed to sub-optimal screen ergonomics who “carry-on regardless” suffering presenteeism and predictable risk of visual repetitive stress injuries / monocular 2D adaptations exacerbating fatigue, increasing error rates, mishaps and potential accidents due to loss of spatial awareness, impaired perspective judgment of distance and/or speed of moving objects within their field of vision.