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6 Ways to Care for your Body, in a Manual Labour Job logo

6 Ways to Care for your Body, in a Manual Labour Job

  • Published: June 21, 2021

  • Updated: March 28, 2024

Healthy workers are productive workers — Construction is no different.

Healthy builders are far less likely to call in sick and more likely to be alert, while remaining effective and safe all shift long.

In the worst case scenario, a lack of care for your body can lead to major injuries and downtime on your project/task.

Here are 6 ways to keep your staff and workplace humming:

1. Hydrate

Construction is physically demanding work. Days can be long, and the work can be unbearably hot during some summer days. It is critical that employees stay hydrated — and productive.

Studies show a 3-4% drop in hydration can lead to a 25-50% drop in productivity.

Encourage staff to keep a refillable water bottle nearby. Provide a water cooler where they can fill up during the work day.

Try not to keep coffee brewing on site all day, as caffeine accelerates dehydration.

2. Drop That Pie!

Grabbing fast food or a gas station meal is convenient, but it’s not helping anyone’s productivity on the job — or their health.

Make “meal planning” a topic of one of your employee meetings or safety talks. Offer tips on how to pack a healthy lunch that will keep workers full and give them energy to get through the shift. (You’ll find plenty of examples just for construction workers online.)

If you keep snacks around the jobsite, ditch the candy bars and chips and replace them with nuts and easy-to-eat fruits and vegetables.

3. Lifting Smarter - Not Harder

Every Kiwi man thinks they are tough enough to lift almost anything... but those people who have injured their backs (including the one writing this blog right now), can tell you that the YEARS of agony and immobility is not worth being the strongest man in the workplace!

A back injury can talk staff off the job from weeks to years. Where possible, look to invest in long-lasting and multi-use lifting equipment to suit your worksite.

Mobile scissor lifts, utility material lifters, high lift pallet trucks are just a number of equipment out there that can help your staff lift and move products easily with no risk to the body.

Remember, what is the value of the health of your staff?

4. Don't Ignore Your Mental Health

If you’re suffering from anxiety, depression, or experiencing workplace bullying, speak about it. Holding everything in adds to the pressure we feel.

Simply having someone close listen to how we feel, can release pent-up emotions and get new perspectives on internal stresses. If you don’t have someone who you trust to talk to, you can seek help with an honest friend outside the workplace. Never feel hesitant to speak to a professional if things get tough – remember things won’t get better on their own… so find a friend.

For more info:

5. Rest 'Dem Bones!

Getting enough sleep is key to staying alert and productive on the job. You can’t control your workers’ sleep habits, but you can give them space — and encouragement — to re-energize during their shift. Construction’s a demanding job, and breaks do make a difference, especially when shifts are long and the days are hot.

Set aside a cool, quiet place where employees can rest their eyes and their minds for a few minutes at a time.

6. Protect Yourself and Be Seen

Information is power, so consider providing wearable devices that help employees monitor important health information.

These devices can track activity levels, heart and respiratory rates, and even sleep quality. Implementing wearable technology benefits you as the employer, but also provides value to employees — both on and off the job.



At the end of the day, every person’s health is their own responsibility. However, as a responsible employer, you can motivate positive behavior, by rewarding best practice and creating a positive culture around health and safety.

It’s a win-win, after all — healthy workers contribute to a healthy bottom line.