Authored article

Public Health Responsibility Deal pledge for builders’ health

This speech was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Lord Howe talks about the new Public Health Responsibility Deal (PHRD) pledge to improve construction workers’ health and well being.

Health Minister Lord Howe welcomes the strong response from the construction industry in this video:

Public Health Responsibility Deal - launch of construction and civil engineering pledge


In drafting the pledge, the PHRD health at work network focused initially on getting the industry to better manage the causes of occupational disease. This means companies signing up will commit to such actions as:

  • having robust and pragmatic policies and safety procedures in place when dealing with health risks, for example asbestos and carbon monoxide
  • doing everything possible to reduce workers’ exposure to substances that cause respiratory disease or breathing difficulty
  • ensuring noise on construction sites is kept to a minimum and where necessary workers have hearing protection
  • avoiding musculoskeletal disorders caused by unnecessary and hazardous manual handling

These are just some of the hazards that every construction company needs to thoroughly assess and do all it can to eliminate or reduce any potential harm to their workforce.

This new pledge outlines how the construction industry will further help its workforce to lead healthier lives. There are a range of actions that companies can take including encouraging staff to quit smoking, promoting healthier eating in staff canteens or to undertake a health check.

Proactively managing employees’ physical and mental health also brings important business benefits including a reduction of sickness absence and increased productivity, helping to boost economic growth.

Read about Public Health Minister Jane Ellison’s visit to Crossrail to announce the RD pledge.