Technology

Wellbeing tool to track mental state of construction workers in real time

21 June 2020 | By Andrew Pring

National framework organisation Pagabo has entered into a partnership with health technology brand Moodbeam to promote the wellbeing of everyone working on projects in the built environment through the use of wearable technology.

Moodbeam One is the world’s first wearable device that is focused on capturing mood in real time through the touch of a button.

The tie-up follows a series of trials involving onsite project teams, offsite manufacturing teams, remote working teams and the subcontracted workforce.

The first round of onsite trials was completed prior to the Covid-19 pandemic on live projects led by contractors on Pagabo’s Major Works Framework – Morgan Sindall Construction and Willmott Dixon. Staff employed directly by the contractors and subcontractors working on the sites were given a Moodbeam One wristband, funded by Pagabo’s Innovation fund, and used it to track if they were having “a good or bad day” at work, in real time. Trials are also took place with subcontractor M2 Civils and manufacturer ECO Modular Buildings.

The first round of onsite trials was completed prior to the Covid-19 pandemic

Mental health and wellbeing in construction is a key concern for the industry. A report by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) – Understanding Mental Health in the Building Environment – says 26% of construction workers had experienced suicidal thoughts and 97% had experienced stress over the past year. Conducted in August 2019, the report takes no account of the additional pressures from the coronavirus pandemic.

Simon Toplass, chief executive at Pagabo, said: “Everyone involved in these trials recognises that to instigate real change in the industry we need to listen to the voice of all people involved in delivering a project. This includes consultants, manufacturers, contractors and subcontractors.

“The industry is starting to talk about the pressure that is felt by its workforce, and this pioneering initiative starts to provide a way of staying in tune with how staff are feeling. The data captured during the trials is completely anonymous and will be used to highlight any challenges and stress points on site, as well as capturing when things are going well.”

Fully managed services will be on offer to assist companies or project teams to set up and oversee usage through a Moodbeam dashboard, which is being exclusively built by Pagabo’s development team and will be available to all contractors and construction sector stakeholders that want to use these tools to support their teams.

Gerard Toplass, executive chairman at Pagabo, said: “It was already crucial that we all begin to work together in the construction industry to foster a more positive environment – and future – for all, but in the wake of coronavirus it’s even more critical. Through use of Moodbeam on site, construction companies will be able to keep track of how its workforce is feeling and will be able to adjust accordingly – thereby continually working to improve overall wellbeing and in turn, site safety.”