Purpose– The purpose of this paper is to explore the nature of the health and wellbeing issues faced within the construction and retail sectors and the difficulties faced in addressing these issues. Design/methodology/approach– This is a small, qualitative pilot study based on in-depth, semi-structured interviews with a purposively sampled group of representatives with expert knowledge from seven firms in the construction sector and three firms in the retail sector. Findings– Health and safety concerns in construction were pervasive. Causes were strongly tied to industry practice and structures such as short-term and sub-contracting as well as long hours and a masculine culture. In the retail establishments concerns tended to be more holistic, focusing on wellbeing and encompassing work satisfaction. Industry leaders in construction are proactive in trying to address these issues, particularly in regard to safety. The multi-dimensionality of the concept of workplace wellbeing implies the need for a holistic approach to interventions. Research limitations/implications– This research was initiated as a pilot study, as part of a wider project in collaboration with a business partner, and is limited by the sample size. Practical implications– These findings should be incorporated into sector specific research on workplace wellbeing and occupational health initiatives. Social implications– Workplace wellbeing programmes need to be constructed holistically as wellbeing is a multi-dimensional concept encompassing quality of life as well as effects of work on health. Originality/value– An in-depth study with industry experts that increases knowledge of the underlying causes of workplace health and wellbeing issues in construction and retail and the barriers to addressing them.
International Journal of Workplace Health Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 13, 2016