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SAFETY REDEFINED: A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO HSE EXCELLENCE

SAFETY REDEFINED: A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO HSE EXCELLENCE

Exploring the Impact of Holistic Health and Safety Practices on Wellness and Psychological Welfare

Author: Valerie Jauregui/Monday, February 5, 2024/Categories: Quinton Anthony

WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO PURSUE A ROLE IN HEALTH, SAFETY AND ENVIRONMENT?

My motivation to pursue a role in Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) stems from a genuine passion for seeing people thrive. It was by chance that I entered the construction industry and joined the health and safety profession. Over my twenty-five years of experience in the construction industry, I've witnessed the profound impact that effective HSE practices can have on individuals and organisations. This commitment is further fuelled by a desire to drive positive change, challenge industry norms, and build enduring relationships.


CAN YOU SHARE A BRIEF SUMMARY OF YOUR PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE IN MANAGING HEALTH, SAFETY AND ENVIRONMENTAL INITIATIVES?

I've held various leadership roles throughout my career, including HSE Leader and Acting General Manager HSE, where I led teams in developing and implementing robust HSE management systems. Notable achievements include designing and delivering global safety programs, such as "Rethinking Safety through Inclusion + Wellbeing" and "Next Gear". These initiatives, along with mentoring and coaching hundreds of HSE professionals, reflect my hands-on experience in driving large-scale safety improvement programs and cultural change initiatives.


GIVEN YOUR PARTICULAR INTEREST IN MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLBEING, CAN YOU COMMENT ON HOW THE CONSTRUCTION SECTOR HAS EMBRACED A MORE HOLISTIC APPROACH TO HEALTH AND SAFETY?

My commitment to mental health and wellbeing is evident in the design and delivery of Mental Health Strategies, aligning them with safety differently principles. In the construction sector, there is a growing recognition of the importance of a holistic approach to HSE. Initiatives like "Rethinking Safety through Inclusion + Wellbeing" emphasise psychological safety alongside physical safety, reflecting a broader understanding of wellbeing in the workplace.


WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGES TO BE ADDRESSED IN THE CONSTRUCTION SECTOR TO BETTER PROTECT AGAINST POOR MENTAL HEALTH OUTCOMES SUCH AS STRESS, ANXIETY, AND DEPRESSION?

The construction sector faces challenges related to the high-pressure nature of the industry, tight project timelines, and demanding work environments. To address poor mental health outcomes, it is crucial to foster a culture that prioritises creating a psychologically safe environment that has open communication, provides adequate support systems, and promotes work-life balance.

Additionally, raising awareness and implementing targeted mental health programs can help mitigate these challenges.  The sector needs to recognise that wellbeing is much broader than mental wellbeing and needs to encompass financial, workplace, social, and environmental wellbeing support.

Organisations should be looking to address psychosocial hazards through good work design.


HAVE YOU SEEN ANY LASTING IMPACTS ON MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLBEING STRATEGY AS A CONSEQUENCE OF MEASURES PUT IN PLACE DURING THE GLOBAL PANDEMIC?

The global pandemic has accelerated the recognition of the importance of mental health in the workplace. Many organisations, including those in the construction sector, have reevaluated and strengthened their mental health and wellbeing strategies. Remote work arrangements, flexible schedules, and increased emphasis on employee support have become integral components of these strategies, leading to positive and lasting impacts on overall wellbeing.


ARE THERE ANY PARTICULAR INITIATIVES YOU HAVE SEEN IN ANY SECTOR THAT YOU FEEL MERIT HIGHLIGHTING AS EXEMPLARS IN SUPPORTING MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLBEING?

The design and delivery of the "Rethinking Safety through Inclusion + Wellbeing" program stands out as an exemplary initiative in supporting mental health and wellbeing. This program, emphasises psychological safety and showcases a comprehensive and innovative approach.

Ventia’s "Healthy Minds" Program which was designed with their people in mind is a great example.  Vitality Works "Safe Spine Safe Mind" is a great program that has ongoing coaching in the field and brings together stretching with brain-friendly tools that support resilience.

I believe programs that are specifically crafted to suit the organisation and the people who work in them have the biggest impact. Also, organisations that recognise that physical safety is no longer enough and combine those strategies to tackle mental wellbeing and psychological safety.

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Lisa McKeown is a Chartered Health and Safety Practitioner with over 25 years' experience working in the construction industry across a wide range of sectors and portfolio of projects. A passionate and influential leader who works within teams to build safety resilience and foster a culture based on engagement and trust. Lisa is a highly driven change and engagement leader, who is practising the art of working differently. She takes a contemporary approach, bringing together innovative, evidence-based solutions to drive transformational change, creating operational excellence.


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