Taking the bull by the horns

BGC Contracting is facing FIFO mental health issues head-on with a new company-wide strategy.
Taking the bull by the horns Taking the bull by the horns Taking the bull by the horns Taking the bull by the horns Taking the bull by the horns

BGC Contracting is boosting its focus on mental health with a new company strategy.

Marion Lopez

Speaking at a recent Deloitte forum, “Understanding mental health impacts of FIFO work arrangements in WA”, BGC Contracting CEO Greg Heylen said he felt industry always talked about health and safety but sent the wrong message by mostly placing the emphasis on safety.

Citing tendering processes as an example, he said clients only required safety related information for a tender based around lag indicators and, generally, did little if any questioning based around health.

As a result, he said the health and safety sector had become imbalanced, with industry safety expenditure increasing over the last 10 years while suicide, depression and mental health incidents were on the rise.

While BGC’s fight against mental illness was ongoing, Heylen said the firm would step up its game by implementing a health and safety strategy that had a 50/50 split across both health and safety. He added the strategy would establish a baseline mental health level to improve upon by a target of 10% every year.

While no details about measurement indicators were mentioned, BGC said it believed the strategy would improve the health and well-being of its employees, in turn boosting  safety performance and productivity levels – all of which the contractor described as being interlinked.

BGC is a supporter of MATES in Construction (MIC), a suicide prevention organisation for the Australian construction industry.

In the past year, four BGC sites have been accredited as MIC sites with more than 1000 employees going through the awareness training program.

“The partnership with MIC is an important part of our commitment to health and wellbeing in the workplace,” BGC said.

“This partnership in conjunction with our partnership with FIFO Families now provides an overall support framework for those working on our sites and, just as importantly, those families left at home.

“BGC Contracting will continue to support MIC in the hopes we can make a difference in this space going forward.”

MATES in Construction, its programs and initiatives can be visited at www.matesinconstruction.org.au