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Workers building healthier outlook thanks to wellbeing project

By Victoria O'Hara

Construction workers involved in a multi-million pound refurbishment of a hospital are having their own health boosted through a new wellbeing project.

The group of men worked on the £12.3m facelift of the operating theatres in Craigavon Area Hospital.

But along with building work they also built up awareness on the health issues.

They attended Men's Health and Wellbeing Awareness sessions as part of a specially tailored programme at the hospital.

The programme, part of Build Health NI, was developed by the Southern Trust in partnership with contractor Farrans Healthcare. Build Health NI is a joint venture scheme between the construction industry in Northern Ireland and HSENI.

The initiative is based on the idea that a workforce that looks after its health will be more motivated and ultimately more productive.

The programme began in October 2012 and so far five health awareness sessions have been held.

Among the topics that have been covered include alcohol and drug misuse and sexual health.

The latest session covered the issue of skin cancer and was supported by Macmillan Nurses.

In June it was revealed the number of cases of the most serious form of skin cancer has almost trebled in Northern Ireland during the past 25 years.

Glenn Gilmore, Farrans project manager, was among those who attended the sessions.

"I think we all appreciate getting advice and information from the health professionals in the trust," he said.

"Construction workers have learned a lot from attending these sessions and getting this information during the working day was really convenient."

Southern Trust planning officer Nickey Hayes developed the Men's Health and Wellbeing Programme.

The aim was to help the men to adopt a healthier lifestyle and "to raise awareness of a number of health-related issues in order that improvements can be made to the overall health and wellbeing of everyone working on this refurbishment project".

Nicky added: "We want to encourage everyone to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

"The trust and the contractors are committed to helping the construction staff to make healthier lifestyle choices.

"The trust was more than happy to share its health and wellbeing knowledge with the construction workers."

The final session is due to take place in December.

The programme has been supported by leading figures in the industry. They recognise that all health issues in construction must be effectively managed and the health of employees is of importance as it relates directly to the efficiency of the organisation.

Belfast Telegraph


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