The Triple Wins: Work Hour Cultures for Health, Wellbeing and Gender Equality in Construction Literature Review highlights the link between long work hours in the Australian construction sector and a raft of negative health and social impacts such as poor mental health, suicide, chronic diseases and work-family conflict.
The Literature Review found that Australian tradespeople work an average of 63 hours per week and site officers and administrators an average of 56 hours per week – significantly exceeding the International Labour Organisation’s maximum weekly hours threshold of 48 hours. This was linked to:
- Heightened stress, burnout, poor mental health, depression, anxiety and sleep problems.
- Negative spill-over between work and family life which is also consistently linked to poor health outcomes and alcohol and drug abuse and/or misuse. This work-family conflict not only negatively affects workers’ health but extends to their families and their children.
- Suicide rates in the construction industry, which in Australia are currently more than double the national rate with construction workers reported to be six times more likely to die from suicide than an accident at work.
- Chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
- Increased risk of workplace injury as work hours rise due to fatigue and burnout and productivity losses.
It also found that the relationship between working time and health is gendered, as it excludes those with care responsibilities – a key factor in women’s under-representation in the construction industry.
The Triple Wins Literature Review was written by RMIT University and the Australian Nationall University.