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By Luke Ireland
July 16, 2018
There are many hazards on the job site: tripping, falling, dangerous machinery, and working in harsh weather conditions to name a few. However, what about the hazards we cannot notice immediately? According to PwC, mental health issues affect 21 per cent of workers on job sites throughout the nation every day.
Luckily, there are organisations out there that exist to bring an attitude of mental and physical wellness to the job site. The Healthy Tradie Project is one of them.
Jobsite ANZ spoke with Pip Seldon, founder and CEO of the Healthy Tradie Project, who offered us insight into how the construction industry can tackle the growing threat of mental illness amongst construction workers.
The project’s mission is working with tradespeople, construction managers, and CEOs to bring a focus to wellness in the industry. It takes a practical approach to suicide prevention, visiting construction sites and running workshops. These workshops aim to improve both mental and physical health on the job site, improving wellbeing and productivity. The workshops are comprised of three key areas:
The project takes its knowledge of the construction industry and applies it to yoga training. This way it can develop a unique and holistic style of yoga designed to challenge, stretch, strengthen and empower tradies in a supportive environment. Throwing out the traditional yoga practice of chanting, the project keeps it real and accessible to all in the construction environment. It is also combined with a body weight training known as “Zuu,” which allows tradies to improve their mobility on the site.
The job site can be full of high-risk activities and constant pressure to focus and perform, That’s exactly what makes mindfulness so crucial. Through breathing exercises, the project teaches tradies to control their minds, bringing more awareness to the task at hand. Seldon says, “we have a focus on mind-on-task, and we do that mostly through breath training, teaching people how to use their own breath to help control anxiety or feelings of stress.”
A healthy mind can only flourish with a healthy body. The food we eat affects how we perform both physically and mentally which is why the third constituent of the project focuses on nutrition. Educating tradies about making healthier choices when it comes to the foods can go a long way; Selcon encourages consistency with these healthy eating habits to get more desirable results.
Launching during Mental Health Week in 2016, the project was met with a positive response. A major success of the program comes down to Seldon’s experience as a project manager in the industry, as well as being a health and nutrition coach and yoga instructor. This has allowed Seldon to personalise the approach of the workshops so that they are compatible with tradies.
Change of Perception
However, according to Seldon, it hasn’t all been easy.
“A big challenge for us is that it is a big culture shift,” Seldon says. “A lot of people see it as not being productive.”
Taking 15 to 30 minutes out of the work day can be considered counterproductive for some. What they need to understand, though, is that taking time to mentally reset on the job site can only boost productivity. Allowing tradies to briefly zone out at work can refresh their minds as well as improve their focus, productivity and hazard awareness.
“The approach we’re taking is that if people actually have their mind on a task and are completely focused on what they’re doing, they’re going to be more productive,” says Seldon.
Find out more about how the Healthy Tradie Project is helping tradies around the nation here.
health and wellness
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