Industrial construction tends to be considered one of the more potentially dangerous occupations. While all jobs create stress, stress in the industrial construction industry is unique. Job site stress not only places the worker at an increased risk of injury, accident, and long-term health consequences, it can also put coworkers at risk and impact the entire project in terms of shutdowns, delays, and increased costs.

Deadlines, long hours, demanding clients, the pressure to be better, faster and cheaper than your competitors and the complex projects requiring multiple skills are all major sources for stress on an industrial site. The effects of stress can include difficulty concentrating, low morale, sleep issues, and strains on family/social relationships, along with significantly increased safety risks. The demands on skilled workers often lead to physical and psychological problems that can contribute to the overall risks and dangers in the industry.

Effective management can help to reduce stress on the job site. Three areas commonly cited by workers as a source of stress include; poor planning, poor communication and lack of feedback. Any attempts to address the management and reduction of stress must start at the leadership level.

Let’s examine three areas that can help to alleviate stress on an industrial job site.

Communication is Key

Fostering an environment of open communication among team members and management can help alleviate stress, reduce risk, and avoid delays. Communicating with every team member can foster a sense of ownership, commonality of goals, understanding, and camaraderie. It allows everyone involved to express concerns, share ideas, communicate priorities and resolve any job issues as a team. It gets everyone on site on the same page.

Something as simple as weekly team meetings where employees can ask for help, set goals and delegate tasks can significantly lower stress. The end result is a well-trained team that understands the goals and priorities of the project that will contribute to the overall success on site.

Focus

Focus includes attention to detail and attending to one task at a time. Having a plan and making a list can help minimize distractions on the job site and drastically reduces the risk of accidents and injuries. Industrial construction sites are potentially dangerous – one careless move or action can lead to disaster. Managing others on the site can be stressful. If each team member focuses on safety, this can remove a significant source of stress from the project.

Allow Workers To Let It Go

Even during a time of labor shortages and unskilled workers, allowing employees time to recharge can help overall morale and productivity. Make space to allow them the time to rest, set achievable daily goals and once they’re met, let them go home and recharge, or take a significant break. Set boundaries during the day to give your team time to unwind, and refocus their attention. Giving them the space to recharge, will improve both communication and focus along with reducing risk. Working overtime may be necessary to meet the schedule, but should come at the peril of workers.

An industrial construction site is a highly charged, dangerous, and demanding atmosphere. While it’s virtually impossible to completely remove workplace stress, having a corporate culture that addresses the reality of stress is important. Debilitating stress can make your team unable to be effective at their job and can take a toll on health. Communicate, focus and let it go. You’ll not only reduce stress, but keep the job site safe as well.