– There is a catch 22 in the Swedish building health. Construction industry don´t ask for today’s occupational health because it lacks the right skills. Occupational health services can not in turn develop specific skills for the construction industry, because its services are not in demand, says Leif Berglund researchers in Industrial Work Environment at Luleå University of Technology.
One of the problems that the construction industry are grappling with in Sweden today, is that there can be big differences in knowledge in education and skills between major construction companies and smaller sub-contractors in the areas of health, work environment and safety. In many construction projects companies working together who may have different ideas and cultures when it comes to the working environment and safety. This applies not least subcontractors with foreign labor.
– Mapping of needs, skills and range of occupational health in the construction industry, aim to make visible the construction industry’s specific needs for health prevention, says Leif Berglund.
In the years 1968 -1993, there was in the construction industry a Bipartite body, Bygghälsan. It was an occupational health accrued specific knowledge and skills in the construction sector, particularly through outreach, regular health care, where the health of the construction workers was investigated in questionnaires and tests. Activities led to a comprehensive data set was created. As a result the substrate industry could take several important decisions regarding, for example, noise, stress, eczema and not least the use of asbestos in the construction industry.
Today occupational health in the construction industry is divided on many local players without central coordination. Employers and trade unions feel that the various occupational skills of businesses when it comes to the construction industry is not comprehensive and lacks breadth. Because of that, construction companies are buying usually only a basic package of health surveys from occupational health services.
– Construction Industry need of support within the working area must be clearer. The occupational health services are now used mainly by construction companies for health checks, even though in generally, many occupational health care has extensive knowledge about systematic work environment, ergonomics and methods to prevent illness and accidents. There must be clearer what skills thare are in occupational, on the market but also what’s missing, says Leif Berglund.
Needs and services are investigated
Researchers at Luleå University of Technology will include making a combined interview and questionnaire study targeting the Swedish Construction Federation, affiliated trade, supervisors / managers, safety officers and former employees at Bygghälsan. Researchers will also investigate services offered to the construction industry by occupational health, primary care, and consultants who are focused on health and safety. Representatives from the Swedish Företagshälsor will be interviewed.
The research project is funded by AFA Försäkring and SBUF (construction industry organization for research and development).