How Welfare Hire Can Help Scottish Infrastructure Projects Build A Better Future

In a recent survey, 50% of Scottish infrastructure firms reported increases to their workload.¹ From making transport more environmentally friendly to creating sustainable energy systems, there is an enormous push to improve the country’s infrastructure.

Welfare Hire is launching a new depot in Scotland’s central belt, to take our service in providing mobile welfare units and lighting towers to the next level for these vital projects. But how will our equipment help these projects? And why is there such a large increase in demand?


Better infrastructure will be at the heart of a more positive future for Scotland. From the £1.2 billion allocated to enhancing the country’s railways² to £1.5 billion for bridge and road maintenance³, these projects will help Scotland achieve net zero, promote more sustainable living and create inclusive economic growth.

In February 2021, the Scottish Government published its Infrastructure Investment Plan (IIP), committing to infrastructure projects cumulatively worth over £26 billion. Despite reported challenges such as supply chain issues, labour shortages and fears of budget changes, there are still great opportunities offered from the huge scope and ambition of the Plan. 

This could just be the start

In October of this year, the Scottish Government laid out its plans for an independent Scotland. This included the Building a Better Scotland fund, which would see £20 billion invested in improving Scotland’s infrastructure over the first decade of Scottish independence. 

While this is by no means inevitable, it once again makes clear how large – and important – future investments in Scottish infrastructure projects are likely to be.

How Welfare Hire Supports Scottish Infrastructure

Welfare Hire has supported Scottish infrastructure projects for several years, partnering with regional and national infrastructure frameworks and contractors.

With a continued growing need for specialist equipment in the market, the next phase of our investment establishes a depot in Scotland’s central belt with a dedicated team to support projects in the country.

The depot will house stock of the mobile ECO welfare units and lighting towers we supply to sectors like rail, highways, utilities and construction. This will enable us to support Scottish infrastructure projects in three key ways:

1. Reduced environmental impact

A central motivation for infrastructure spending is to make Scotland greener; the £120m pledged for greener rail is but a single example. However, net zero targets draw attention to the entire supply chain – and that includes the actual construction and maintenance work involved in creating all this green infrastructure.

Welfare Hire’s mobile welfare units and lighting towers utilise hybrid power and Smart Water systems that unlock huge reductions in onsite fuel consumption and carbon emissions.

2. Support overworked staff

While infrastructure firms plan hard to deliver the projects they commit to, 55% also say they are struggling with labour shortages. This makes life extremely tough for the workers they do have, and could lead to decreased morale, exhaustion and even mental health struggles.

Welfare Hire’s mobile welfare units are designed to tackle these problems, providing a larger, more comfortable space for workers to rest during downtime. The effect both on workers’ productivity and health can be dramatic – exactly what projects struggling with a shortage of staff need to help keep their site operatives happy and attract new hires.

3. Make sourcing equipment easier

Delays have plagued many large Scottish infrastructure projects since February 2021, even before COVID-19, with almost 50% of projects experiencing such issues. This emphasises the vital importance of reliable service and support from supply partners.

Welfare Hire’s new depot will deliver the most comprehensive support possible, ensuring projects can always access the mobile welfare units and lighting towers they need – exactly when they need them – from a specialist partner.

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How Innovative Products Can Combat On-site Noise Pollution

Noisy construction sites are nothing new, but many do not realise quite how serious the consequences of all that noise can be. From compromising people’s health to harming local communities, noise pollution is estimated to cost the UK economy an eye-watering £20 billion each year.¹

Construction leaders have a responsibility to fight this, and switching to quieter equipment like eco-friendly mobile welfare units and tower lighting units is a great way of doing that.

But how much impact would they actually have? And why is it so important to reduce on-site noise?

The impact of on-site noise

According to medical studies, around 51% of construction workers have been exposed to hazardous noise.² It’s not just unpleasant; it harms their health. Roughly 14% of construction workers report hearing difficulty, and 7% suffer from tinnitus.³

This extends to the neighbours of the site, too. A recent report outlined how noise from construction sites can cause stress, poor sleep and health problems for those that live nearby; and the World Health Organisation (WHO) claims noise pollution is the second-largest environmental cause of health issues.

The message is clear: noise pollution makes communication harder, reduces wellbeing and negatively impacts people’s health.

Site Welfare Facilities

What can construction sites do?

There are a number of ways leaders can reduce the noisiness of their sites. Focusing on particularly noisy activities will help curb the social impact of construction noise.  Additionally, noise restrictions tend to be stricter in the evenings and during the night time, so reducing noise at those times becomes imperative.

Equally, the Government’s advice highlights the value of altering design processes to reduce noise and removing people from the vicinity of noisy work. It also highlights the importance of choosing quieter equipment. And that is where Welfare Hire is able to lend a hand.

How Welfare Hire combats noise pollution

Welfare Hire’s innovative lighting towers run largely by battery rather than generator power; this means they are completely silent whenever the battery is being used. The X-Eco HYBRID LITHIUM, for example, can run silently for 36 hours. This means the lighting tower can be used all night without creating any noise at all.

The battery can then be charged using a generator, but this generator time is a fraction of the time needed if this were the primary source of power to the light.  Charging can take place during the day, ensuring the impact of the noise is minimal. The unit is also fitted with smart telematics, enabling site managers to check the battery remotely and manage charging around their project’s needs.

Similarly, Welfare Hire’s ECO welfare units are powered by solar energy first, lithium battery second and generator power only as a back-up.  This Smart Power management ensures that generator use is roughly ten times less, based on a standard competitor. In the summer, they may be able to run with no generator use at all.

You can see exactly how much your project could save

If you’d like to learn more, reach out to our sales team today.

2.Kerns E, Masterson EA, Themann CL, Calvert GM. (2018). Cardiovascular conditions, hearing difficulty and occupational noise exposure within U.S. industries and occupations. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 61, 477-491.
3.Kerns E, Masterson EA, Themann CL, Calvert GM. (2018). Cardiovascular conditions, hearing difficulty and occupational noise exposure within U.S. industries and occupations. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 61, 477-491.
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Five Key Challenges For Highways In 2022 and Beyond

The UK’s Highways sector is one of its most vital and valuable assets. But from improving safety to delivering on climate targets, the sector faces a number of challenges.

As a proud supplier to many key highways projects, we explore five key trends in this article that will define the highways sector over the next year and beyond.

1. Project delays

A combination of planning delays and a pause on the roll out of smart motorways has led a large number of National Highway’s enhancement projects to be at risk of being deferred or dropped. According to Highways Magazine, the percentage of schemes at risk of missing an SOW commitment increased from 9% in 2020 to 22% last year.¹.

How these delays are resolved is unclear, but it will undoubtedly place pressure on National Highways to demonstrate its ability to deliver; the Office of Road and Rail (ORR) has warned that the company must prove it has “robust risk mitigations” in place.²

2. New safety recommendations

Road accidents are said to cost the UK economy and NHS £30 billion each year.³ And while lockdowns brought about a large decrease in the number of accidents on the UK’s roads, recently published numbers have shown a return to pre-pandemic rates.

The government has responded with the launch of The Road Safety Investigation Branch, which will provide independent recommendations on how the country’s roads could be made safer and incorporate new technology more effectively. This will likely spur on many high-value projects in the coming years, requiring innovative mobile welfare units.

3. Innovative technology

At the beginning of 2022, the UK government announced that no more all-lane running smart motorways would be built until the concept’s safety could be proven. This dealt a real blow to those who had claimed digital technology would transform roads in the coming years. But there is still reason to expect digital to be a significant part of future projects.

One key way technology will be used in highways moving forward is through design and maintenance. National Highways is already looking to leverage digital to produce a safer and more efficient construction process. The result may be a very large improvement in the output of the sector.

4. The rise of social values

Most industries have seen an awakening on issues of social justice in recent years. The highways sector is no different, and we are just beginning to see how this will be realised in the coming years.

National Highways recently published its Social Value Plan, which outlines how the company will support positive social change. This speaks to a larger trend, where highways businesses race to show their progress in relation to social values and local councils increasingly factor social value into their procurement decisions¹.

To promote diversity, companies in the sector should consider ways to improve on-site welfare. Providing their workers with innovative mobile welfare units that provide space and comfort will help improve morale and encourage employment interest from a broader range of talent.

5. Reducing carbon emissions

In July 2021, the UK government published its Transport Decarbonisation Plan¹¹ – a guide to helping the country’s transport networks meet net zero targets. From embracing electric vehicles (EVs) to encouraging the use of public transport, this will be a defining challenge for the highways sectors in the coming decade. 

For industry contractors, this is more than just an indication of the kinds of projects they will be working on; it is also a call to arms for them to reduce their own emissions. 

The Department for Transport (DfT) recently argued that fleets played a vital role in overarching net zero efforts. While road vehicles produce more than 90% of emissions, there is still an urgent need for strategic equipment such as mobile welfare units and mobile welfare vans to be as eco-friendly as possible¹².

As net zero deadlines grow closer, contractors may be able to improve their chances of landing valuable contracts by introducing more environmentally friendly equipment – such as hybrid-powered mobile welfare units. This will involve ensuring they have the right supplier partnerships in place to source such vehicles.

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Four Best Vehicle Mounted Access Platform Practices To Improve Your Worksite Safety

Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms (VMAPs) are essential for most infrastructure projects, enabling you to work at heights safely. But in order to make the most of them, contractors must ensure their workers know exactly how to operate their equipment. 

As market leading providers of Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms for hire and lease, we at Access Hire feel a duty to help our partners make the most of their vehicles. That’s why we created this instructional video for the 5.2T – 14.5M VMAP:

Following these best practices will improve your worksite in at least four ways:

1. Prevent damage and malfunction

Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms need to be carefully maintained to avoid damage or malfunction. If the vehicle is compromised, it can result in delays to your project and repair costs that eat into your budget.

The best way to keep your vehicles in proper condition is following a careful series of checks on each Vehicle Mounted Access Platform before using it. This will ensure the vehicle and platform operate correctly and are safe for use. Here at Access Hire, vehicles go through a rigorous 50-point pre-delivery inspection ensuring your vehicle arrives road-ready.


2. Keep workers safe

Onsite safety is a huge priority for any contractor – especially when employees are working at heights. Following correct operating procedures is vital to ensure both those operating the vehicle and those in the basket remain safe and secure at all times.

The operator of a Vehicle Mounted Access Platform is responsible for carrying out a full risk assessment before, during and after use. They should also undertake daily checks before usage; deploy stabiliser legs correctly; ensure anybody using the platform wears a safety harness; and be fully aware of all emergency procedures, to ensure they are able to quickly resolve any issues during operation.

3. Avoid worksite accidents

Worksites can be busy, stressful environments, and without proper safety precautions moving vehicles can be a serious safety hazard. That is why anybody operating a Vehicle Mounted Access Platform has a duty to continually check their surroundings for hazards, as well as assessing the ground conditions.

Not only will this keep those outside of the vehicle safe from harm; it will ensure the whole site is able to operate more smoothly.

4. Improves efficiency of work

When you are on a tight budget and deadline, even minor faults can cause significant difficulties. But from platform malfunction to miscommunication, issues around the operation of strategic equipment are a common cause of delays on infrastructure worksites.

Following a clear set of shared best practices ensures your Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms operate smoothly. This means each task is completed as quickly and effectively as possible – keeping you on schedule.

Learn more with Access Hire

At Access Hire, we provide the UK’s largest and most modern fleet of Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms. But we don’t stop at the point of delivery.

Instead, we are dedicated to ensuring our partners’ projects are successful. That is why we include 24/7 support with every vehicle and offer expert advice about the safe and proper operation of your fleet.

Reach out today to discover how our service could help improve your worksite.

Why Good Lighting Is Vital For Work Site Safety

When we think of health and safety on a construction site, most people picture hardhats and high-viz vests. But there is another key factor that keeps workers safe every day on site – and that is good quality light.

Lighting towers are not just vital for working during the darker months of the year; they form an essential part of any serious health and safety plan. From increased visibility to reduced eye strain, good-quality lighting towers are a non-negotiable asset for any project.

That is why Welfare Hire is so proud of our innovative range of lighting towers. They improve on-site safety in three clear ways:

1. Awareness of hazards

Improving the quality of lighting in a workspace has been proven to reduce accidents by 52%.¹ With more light – and less glare – workers can see exactly what they’re doing, so there is less chance they will trip or fall.

They can properly assess hazards or risks, which is particularly crucial when working in dangerous situations – such as operating heavy machinery or working at heights. And oncoming traffic and pedestrians can see clearly that they are entering a construction zone.

2. cognitive load

Poor lighting forces workers to strain their eyes, which can cause long-term harm to their sight. Workers have to make an effort to see what’s going on, which takes focus away from the task at hand. This often results in accidents or errors that can be costly or dangerous.

These problems are collectively known as ‘increased cognitive load’. Research has proven that poor lighting lowers cognitive performance.² So if lighting is poor or inconsistent, your workforce is constantly distracted. It’s the equivalent of asking them to do brain teasers while they work.

3. Wellbeing and health

Increased cognitive load ultimately impacts the mental and physical health of workers. Having to strain to see – or constantly experiencing glare – can cause headaches and increase stress.

This is borne out by evidence: studies have shown that better lighting can reduce the number of sick days employees take and increase output.² With better lighting towers, workers are therefore not only safer – they feel better, are less likely to be absent and are ultimately more productive.

How welfare hire can help

Welfare Hire’s range of innovative lighting towers are not only environmentally friendly – they are a vital health and safety resource. 

Each tower is capable of lighting half a football field, providing enough illumination for the toughest projects. And each of the tower’s six light heads can be individually positioned to ensure optimum light to every area. 

They are the perfect solution for any contractor looking to increase their onsite safety and invest in the best quality equipment for their teams. And with 99.1% perfect hires, we provide a seamless, market-leading service that will make the transition fast and easy.


Can Lighting Towers Improve Your Carbon Footprint?

As the days get shorter, construction contractors across the country become more reliant on lighting towers. But with growing pressure to reduce carbon emissions at every level of the supply chain, are traditional diesel lighting towers fit for purpose?

Many contractors assume opting for eco-friendly alternatives will hit their bottom line – something many businesses simply cannot handle in the current economic climate. This is probably driven by reports that reaching net zero will cost $3.5 trillion each year.¹

But the reality is the transition needn’t be hard on all areas of business. Modelling carried out by Cambridge Econometrics has demonstrated that tackling the cost of living while simultaneously accelerating the UK’s low-carbon transition would create “win-wins”². And our research has shown that lighting towers are one of them.

The environmental case for eco-friendly lighting towers

To illustrate the environmental benefits of eco-friendly lighting towers, let’s compare Welfare Hire’s X-Eco HYBRID LITHIUM tower with a standard diesel model.

The X-Eco HYBRID LITHIUM uses lithium hybrid technology to power six 100W LED lights. This allows it to provide 455 hours of continuous light per refill and deliver 80% silent running.

The combination of efficiency and more environmentally friendly energy sources leads to dramatic reductions in CO2 emissions. Based on the assumption that a site would run their units for 60hrs per week, each hybrid lighting tower produces a 288kg reduction each week; over a month, the savings reach 1135kg.

Our exclusive Eco Calculator quantifies how switching your lighting towers to eco-friendly alternatives will reduce your carbon footprint.

The economic case for eco-friendly lighting towers

The amount of fuel used in traditional lighting units is very large. From transporting the units to actually running them, these costs can hit contractors hard. This is only exacerbated by growing fuel prices.

Switching to eco-friendly lighting towers, therefore, presents an opportunity to save a great deal on the cost of fuel, as they require far less to run – and make it go a lot further.

Volumetric data from sites hiring our equipment has shown that every X-Eco HYBRID LITHIUM saves £108 per week in fuel costs – and £430 per month.

switching is easier than you think

These figures make clear the benefits of switching to innovative, eco-friendly lighting towers. But many contractors still assume that sourcing such towers must be difficult.

Welfare Hire ensures it is simple to make the switch. With market-leading customer service; inclusive maintenance and support; and 99.1% perfect hires, we have helped countless contractors introduce eco-friendly lighting towers.


How Leasing Access Vehicles Can Help Improve Your Budgeting

Staying on budget is one of the biggest challenges construction and infrastructure projects face. 

Recent studies have found that 85% of all construction projects experienced cost overruns¹, with the average project exceeding its budget by a minimum of 16%² – and the majority overrunning by 28%³.

While there are multiple factors that cause budget problems, a major contributor is the cost of strategic equipment and vehicles, such as vehicle mounted access platforms (VMAPs).

In this article, we explore how leasing these vehicles can provide greater financial control and help projects stay on budget.

How does leasing work?

Leasing is the perfect alternative to buying access vehicles. Many contractors don’t want to tie up their working capital to buy top-quality access vehicles outright.  Access Lease provides a cost-effective way of sourcing the latest vehicles on a fully maintained basis. 

With fixed monthly payments – including no hidden fees – contractors can lease innovative, market-leading vehicle mounted access platforms whilst simultaneously protecting themselves from financial uncertainty.

The ways leasing improves your bottom line

1. Spread costs and improve cash flow

The leasing model allows contractors to spread the cost of their vehicles over a fixed period of months, resulting in more affordable, individual payments. When comparing leasing to loan repayments on the same asset, monthly payments could be reduced by as much as 50%.

The fixed monthly payments are predictable and clear, enabling you to create a long-term budget without constantly adjusting to fit unexpected hiring and maintenance costs.

2. Tax savings

84% of businesses are currently transforming their tax and financial operating model to make savings. Leasing enables this, because contractors can generally deduct the full lease rental cost from their taxable income – or claim capital allowances on the asset cost. 

This makes leasing more financially efficient and helps contractors make their limited budget go further.

3. Inclusive maintenance and support

Maintenance is often undervalued in contractors’ budgets, yet it actually accounts for up to 30% of the total cost of a vehicle. 

Leasing with Access Lease comes with inclusive maintenance and 24/7 support, meaning we take away all the headaches of ownership – from breakdowns, replacement vehicles, LOLERs, MOTs, servicing, and specific asset advice. It also reduces the likelihood of on-site breakdowns, as vehicles are rigorously tested before being delivered to the site and fully maintained to the highest of standards. 

To discover how leasing our vehicles could help you, reach out to us today.

Five Key Challenges For Street Lighting In 2022 And Beyond

Street lighting is a vital part of the UK’s public infrastructure, and experts argue it could help contribute to a safer, greener future for the country. But the industry faces a number of tough problems in the coming years¹, from managing budgets to sourcing the right vehicle mounted access platforms.

In this article, we explore five key challenges that contractors must understand and tackle if they want to thrive in 2022 and beyond:

1. Budget management

Given that the UK government’s National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline has promised £650bn for infrastructure schemes over the next decade, we might assume budgeting is going to be less of a problem in the coming years. But this overlooks two challenges.

First, public finances are under unprecedented pressure – and that means tough decisions are on the way. Projects which are deemed to be economically inefficient or lack a clear Return On Investment will likely be the first to be shelved.

Second, contractors often overlook ways they could improve their budgeting efficiency. For example, by switching to a leasing model for their Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms, many firms could gain far greater control over their spending – and make themselves a far more appealing proposition when bidding on contracts.


2. LED lighting

Street lighting typically consumes around 30% of a local authority’s budget², but this figure drops quite a bit if they have switched to LED lighting. It has been suggested that local authorities could save £100 million a year by making the switch³

Another reason demand for LED street lighting has grown is climate change. LED lights offer 100,000 hours of light, compared to 15,000 from normal bulbs, presenting a huge opportunity to reduce energy usage and create more sustainable public infrastructure.

This helps explain why local councils have spent nearly £500 million installing LED street lighting since 2016. Experts estimate the UK’s streets will be 100% LED lit by 2035, but it is smaller, less well-funded areas that contractors should look to for the biggest opportunities.

3. Public safety

While LED lighting provides huge cost and climate benefits, it also presents challenges in terms of reliability. In London, by far the most advanced area in terms of LED adoption, nearly 1,500 complaints have been made relating to street lighting since 2016

This speaks to a larger issue of public safety. Recent studies have found that well-lit street can reduce crime by 36%, meaning street lighting is not just a tick-box compliance exercise but a potential means of improving the safety and wellbeing of local populations.

Street lighting contractors have a responsibility to help local authorities make better use of street lighting as a means of improving safety. Doing so will not only fulfill social responsibility, but help contractors build better relations with their customers.

4. The Internet of Things (IoT)

Urban planners and local authorities are empowered by greater volumes of high-quality data. Smart, connected street lighting could be an unparalleled source of real-time information for them in the future, enabling everything from monitoring traffic to enabling more efficient energy usage.

Making this a widespread reality will require a great deal of innovation and investment. Street lighting contractors and manufacturers should champion this approach, making the case for better connected, technologically empowered systems.

A government report from June raised security concerns as a major roadblock to implementing smart street lighting technology. The report asked for additional guidance on security matters, and those in the industry that are able to help resolve these concerns will likely position themselves well for future opportunities.

5. Reliability

Finally, street lighting contractors face a challenge ensuring they are able to deliver projects on time and budget reliably. The construction industry as a whole has developed a reputation for delays and budgetary problems, and overcoming these issues will help contractors win 

One factor to consider is procurement: plenty of problems arise not because of the contractors themselves, but a lack of transparency or reliability in the supply chain. Ensuring key equipment like vehicle-mounted access platforms are on-site when needed is vital to keep things ticking along and stay on target.

Contractors should therefore consider who they partner with – their reputation, delivery model and capacity. At Access Hire, we operate the UK’s largest, most reliable fleet of vehicle mounted access platforms, and with fully inclusive maintenance and support, we help our street lighting customers deliver reliable results every time.


Five Important Ways to Improve Safety in the Forestry Industry

Physical safety is among the biggest challenges for the forestry industry. In the last decade, 24 arborists have been killed while working – and nearly 1,400 have suffered an injury¹. It currently ranks as the industry with the most fatal accidents in the UK – with 8 times more than the second placed Construction ².

Of course, some level of risk is inevitable in an industry where individuals are working at heights and operating equipment like chainsaws and often working alone. But there are many decisions project managers and leaders can make to ensure their people are safe and secure.

In this article, we explore five important ways Welfare Hire and Access Hire help equip our forestry partners for improved safety, using our range of vehicle mounted access platforms, mobile welfare units and mobile lighting towers:

1. Secure vehicles for working at heights

Falling from heights accounts for nearly a quarter of all workplace deaths in the UK³, and is the single most common cause of injury in forestry. This means extra attention needs to be paid to the vehicles and equipment used to undertake such work.

Access Hire’s market-leading Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms provide the robust support workers need to work at heights. With two person baskets and advanced platform controls, workers feel in control and able to navigate challenging conditions with confidence.

2. Comfortable space to rest

The links between poor quality rest and accidents in the workplace are well established. But in an industry like forestry, onsite errors can lead to far more severe outcomes than most.

Welfare Hire’s innovative mobile welfare units are designed to ensure this is never an issue. They provide up to 20% more internal space for rest, along with a range of vital amenities, comfortable seating and high-quality facilities, so your people are always able to relax during down time and stay present on the job.

3. High-quality lighting towers

Working during periods without natural light is vital to deliver most forestry projects. But this leaves you vulnerable to lighting failure – which not only causes disruptions, but can lead to health and safety risks.

Welfare Hire’s eco-friendly lighting towers provide the perfect solution, providing high-quality, energy efficient light that allows you to keep the work area properly lit at all times. The X-EcoHYBRID LITHIUM lighting tower, for example, offers a whopping 445 hours of continuous light per refill.

4. Reliable support

Equipment failure causes disruption to forestry projects – especially those that are in very remote, difficult-to-reach locations. But it also presents a risk to onsite safety, as malfunctioning equipment may lead to accidents or errors.

This is particularly so given the environmental challenges faced by forestry projects; in a recent survey, 15% of forestry professionals cited “Mother Nature” as the single biggest challenge they face.

As a result, these businesses must have reliable support on hand to handle any issues their specialist equipment presents. Both Welfare Hire and Access Hire provide just such help, with 24/7 dedicated expert support available to every client

Kelling Group Access Hire Maintenance

5. Regular service and maintenance

Reliable support is important, but so are preventative measures. That is why Welfare Hire and Access Hire each also pride themselves on providing regular, rigorous maintenance on all of our vehicles that goes above and beyond the regulatory standards.

We take care of LOLER testing of our vehicle mounted access platforms; every welfare unit undergoes a 62-point pre-delivery inspection; every vehicle mounted access platform undergoes a 50-point pre-delivery inspection; and we ensure seamless delivery of every vehicle, to keep our customers working at all times


How Mobile Welfare Units Can Help Kickstart Better Mental Health in the Construction Industry

Construction has a reputation for being tough, dangerous work. But as anyone with first-hand experience knows, it is not the physical impact of the job which most struggle with – it is the emotional one.

Mental health issues affect a staggering 83% of construction workers in the UK,¹ and should rightly be deemed a major workplace health crisis. But the combination of high-stress work and low job security – as well as a toxic workplace culture which emphasises stoicism over sharing – leads many to suffer in silence. 

Over two thirds of construction workers believe there’s a stigma surrounding mental health which stops them from talking about it,² and 56% of construction professionals work for organisations with no policies on mental health in the workplace.³

Ultimately, men working in the industry are roughly four times more likely than average to take their own lives – and suicide is five times more prevalent than all other fatalities combined.

Welfare Hire is passionate about improving mental health in the construction industry, and in this article we explain why our mobile welfare units should be a vital component of any business’s attempts to do so.

Better mental health will transform construction

As Welfare Hire’s recent research showed, the construction industry has become sluggish in recent years, with low productivity and a growing trend of missed deadlines. But this may be more directly related to the mental health crisis than many assume.

Consider, for example, the economic effect of poor mental health support. Stress, anxiety, and depression account for one-fifth of work-related illnesses – leading to 70 million days of leave and costing an estimated annual cost of £70bn-£100bn. Improved mental health support would immediately reduce that cost, providing a much-needed boost to construction projects’ productivity and financial efficiency.

This is just one of many ways improving employee experience – by hiring better mobile welfare units – would lead to widespread improvements. Consider hiring difficulties, retention challenges, diversity problems and onsite communication – all would be vastly improved by a wholesale reevaluation of mental health support. And we believe that starts with the onsite environment.

The power of thinking small

Many businesses go wrong by trying to tackle the big picture problem head-on. But this overlooks the small wins available to them, and misunderstands the day-to-day experiences that cumulatively lead to mental health struggles.

A third of construction workers suffer from elevated levels of anxiety every day, and 44% feel their daily workload is too high. These are low-level concerns that ultimately grow into larger problems, especially when they are persistently underestimated or ignored.

Experts often suggest that construction workers need to be educated and encouraged to talk about their problems. But this overlooks the fact that most construction sites are extremely poor environments for such open communication – especially if you are not used to having such conversations.

How mobile welfare units help

Our business is explicitly designed to help businesses improve the way they treat their employees – by providing the physical comfort and space they need with a range of innovative mobile welfare units and welfare vans. 

Better mobile welfare units and welfare vans can combat this in two ways:

First, they provide the right atmosphere to have important conversations, providing respite from the loud and often intense construction environment. 

Second, they signal to workers that their mental health is being taken into account and supported. This encourages workers to feel safe opening up.The X-Eco10, for example, provides 20% more internal space than other mobile welfare units, enabling up to 10 people to rest at any given time. This can be a gamechanger in terms of employee wellbeing, providing a safe, private space where the complex and vital work of destigmatising mental health concerns can take place.