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Free health checks for construction workers

Holly Blake

Employees of construction firms in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland can benefit from free workplace health checks, thanks to a fully-funded project from the University of Nottingham to support companies in this geographical region.

The University’s health check roadshows are open to any staff member, who can choose from a range of optional and confidential checks such as weight, body mass index, blood pressure, diabetes risk and an HIV test with sexual health advice. Resources and information on mental health awareness, musculoskeletal health, healthy diet and physical activity are also being provided. Staff receive their own results and are signposted to other health services where appropriate. The University will also give company managers access to a free online package with information about health screening at work.

Led by Dr Holly Blake, an Associate Professor of Behavioural Science in the University of Nottingham’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, the project team is made up of nurses, health psychologists, medics and health promotion specialists, with experienced delivery partners from the third sector and charitable organisations. “A healthy, happy workforce is more productive and less likely to take time off sick,” Dr Blake explained. “Promoting health and wellbeing at work shows employees they are valued. Companies that look after their staff see benefits in terms of attracting staff, retaining staff, improving productivity and performance and building morale – and general health checks are one way to promote health. We want to hear from companies in construction and related industries – specifically those that have sites in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland areas – who would like to take advantage of our free health screening in the workplace.”

The University will evaluate the service by asking staff what they thought of the one-off health check, which takes around 20 minutes, and speaking to managers about their views of the health check service and promoting health at work. “We want to know more about the usefulness of offering health checks to construction workers and, in particular, whether people are interested in having an optional, confidential HIV screening test as part of a general health check,” Dr Blake said. “This is because companies rarely include sexual health in workplace health programmes, but it is an important area of health, and offering rapid HIV tests during the working day can help to increase people’s access to health screening. This project will help us to determine future interest in this type of service.”

Companies who wish to receive these health checks, which run from August 2019 to early spring 2020, or would like more information should contact Project Researcher Sarah Somerset (sarah.somerset@nottingham.ac.uk). The project is funded by American biotechnology research company Gilead Sciences, Inc.