Laing O’Rourke tackles tower crane operators’ mental health

16 May 2019 | By Neil Gerrard

Laing O’Rourke is offering mental health support to its tower crane operators as part of an innovative programme to safeguard the health of its specialist workforces.

Chief executive Ray O’Rourke personally asked for tower crane operators to be the first group to be offered support under the new programme, run in conjunction with the Energy Project, a consultancy focused on transforming businesses through people.

The company has identified a high trend of mental health issues in tower crane workers, associated with their heavy workload, pressure on the job and isolation.

As part of a “micro experiment”, workers have been encouraged to think creatively about how to use their time to promote wellbeing, such as cycling to work when they don’t have time to go to the gym, as well as being asked to examine what foods they can eat that will better help their concentration in a safety-critical role. They are also being encouraged to consider how making small, consistent changes can help to influence others on site.

If the experiment reveals that people are able to generate greater capacity as a result of the work, then Laing O’Rourke will look at creating a self delivery model for the wider workforce.

Edward Carr, business stream leader at Select Lifting Solutions, said: “Tower crane drivers are critical to our industry. This is about focusing the energy that our drivers do have and giving them the time and the resources to apply themselves in the correct way. To target our tower crane drivers in this way is far and above what the industry is doing.”

Silvana Martin, health and wellbeing leader at Laing O’Rourke, said: “It is a really exciting time to be looking at what we can influence in the future and how we can connect the different parts of energy that we can influence ourselves and that will have a knock-on effect into productivity and how successful the business is in achieving its 2025 vision.”


In this day of remote control surly it is "high" time that tower cranes and other distant operator locations be fitted with remote control consoles. If we can land probes on comets thousands of miles away then our earthbound needs and the problems of drivers' mental health should be easily solved.

Roger Blackmore-Squires, 17 May 2019

Remote control tower cranes are not in any way comparable to a manned machine. When operating a manned machine the operator can feel what way the machine is reacting to the wind and load etc. and can react instantly to it.
I have operated both and in my opinion the remote control machine is not as safe as a manned machine and by a big margin.
Also, the industry, it seems, like remote machines as it nearly always turns out that the operator is or becomes the banksman, thereby saving on a wage.


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