The Biggest & Best Portal to the Professional Property, Workplace and Built Environment Community

Sunday, 21 July

Tradespeople - Living The Good Life - No Stress But Blood Pressure High

The full English

Tradespeople are UK’s least stressed but a study has also flagged hidden health risks for those on the tools. 

The Good Life Report, a study by AXA Business Insurance into Britain’s boom in self-employment, finds tradespeople have better than average mental health but their work style brings increased physical risks, particularly high blood pressure.

According to the AXA study of self-employed people, those in the building and maintenance trades report the best mental wellbeing. Just eight per cent say their work causes them stress – four times lower stress rate than among UK workers overall, and half the stress rate for self-employed people in desk-based jobs.

Daily diaries from tradespeople showed that stress peaks occur most often when they are stuck in traffic – the top source of daily stress for two thirds. After that, finding customers unprepared, absent or late on site was the second biggest stresser (for 41 per cent).

 

Let's get physical

The physical element of their daily work may be one explanation for tradespeople’s high resilience to stress, according to the study’s authors. Eighty per cent of the day is spent engaged in physical activity (compared to just 15 per cent for office based work), supporting the theory that physical activity and mental wellbeing are closely linked.

 

Bad backs

Hidden health risks were noted among people working in the trades though. Back and joint pain was the single biggest negative health impact they say comes from their work life. But, to put this in perspective, the same number –  six in ten – of entirely desk based workers noted the same, showing that lack of movement can be just as damaging to joints as heavy labour.

 

Gutted

A fifth of the tradespeople surveyed said their BMIs were in the obese category and a further 47 per cent reported BMIs in the overweight category. While these figures are slightly below the national averages in the UK, they point to dietary factors rather than lack of physical exertion.

Daily diaries showed that people in the building trades are most likely to skip breakfasts and lunches in the early part of the day (21 per cent miss both regularly), making up for a day spent running on empty by filling up on calories later in the evening.

With work being mobile, and meals van-based, many find they are grabbing snacks on the go - crisps, pastries, sausages and bacon being commonly quoted. An interesting finding was that tradespeople eat four times more sausages per week than is the average in the UK.

 

Smoking

A third of tradespeople smoke too, which is significantly higher than the UK average of 17 per cent. Taken together with diet, these factors may help account for the finding that just over a fifth of people in these manual occupations report suffering from high blood pressure.

 

Occupation & wellbeing

Gareth Howell, MD of AXA Insurance, commented: “Life in the building trades can be a very good one. When we asked tradespeople if they’d recommend their job to their children, eight in ten sad they would, which is a very high accolade. The pattern of work – early starts, pressure of deadlines and eating on the go a lot from a van – does present some pitfalls though. The report is an interesting read for people in any style of work, showing just how much your occupation sways the way you eat and affects your wellbeing.”

Picture: The full English is not necessarily enjoyed by tradespeople all the time - but bad diets do seem to go with the territory.

 

Article written by Cathryn Ellis

Share



Related Articles

Dads Take The Penalties - Employers Miss Their Goals

The UK is running the risk of creating a ‘fatherhood penalty’ – as fathers consider stalling or side-lining their careers to find roles they can better...

 Read Full Article
4 In 6 Work 6.3 Unpaid Hours A Week

66% of UK employees work an average of 6.3 hours per week without pay with around 22% admitting to working more than 10 unpaid hours over five days according to a new...

 Read Full Article
Sit-stand - Work Yourself Healthy

Businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of employee health and wellbeing, writes AJ Products' David English. There is little doubt future...

 Read Full Article
Organisations United On Sustainability

Built environment businesses are adopting increasingly ambitious sustainability commitments while IFMA UK has joined forces with Greenpeace and Kids Against...

 Read Full Article
Living, Working, Breathing - 18 Million Face Unsafe Levels Of Pollution

Nearly 18 million NHS patients live, work and visit their GPs in English areas which breach pollution limits new figures show. That's 7.5 million NHS patients in...

 Read Full Article
Sickness And Accidents Cost 4.3 Million Days

New research from Direct Line for Business has revealed workers took 4.3 million sick days between 2014 and 2017, with 568,000 being the result of an accident in the...

 Read Full Article
Best Places To Work In 2019 Winners Announced

Glassdoor, one of the world’s largest job and recruiting sites, has announced the winners of its 11th annual Employees’ Choice Awards for the Best Places to...

 Read Full Article
Workplace Health Experts Join Committee

The Health & Safety Executive has appointed experts in the gig economy and mental health to its Workplace Health Expert Committee. The Workplace Health Expert...

 Read Full Article
Drinking & Driving Highly Recommended In Hot Weather Conditions

Staying hydrated while at the wheel is imperative.  Fleet operators and individual drivers have been warned that not taking enough water, air-con mistakes and hay...

 Read Full Article
Get The Inside Out

A mental health awareness campaign has returned to our TV screens; one organisation is saying wellbeing - and particularly air quality - is the new bottom line; another...

 Read Full Article