Construction workers go to work too ill to perform says survey


New research from a trade insurance specialist shows that more than 90% of construction workers polled admitted that they had previously arrived at a job despite knowing for sure that they were too ill or injured to work to standard required.

The survey, carried out by, polled a total of 2,384 participants, each aged 25 and over who had been working in the construction sector, within a variety of different industries, for the past five years.

Respondents were selected from an equal spread of different UK regions and suggested that the worries of not being able to make ends meet, support loved ones and pay the bills mean that the majority of British construction workers have previously continued with employment, despite knowing that they were too ill or injured to complete work to a high enough standard.

Those whom took part in the survey were asked if they’d ever been guilty of arriving at work despite suffering with an illness or injury that they knew would make it impossible for them to work to a high enough standard, to which the vast majority of respondents (91%) admitted they had done this at least once before.

Participants were then given a list of answers and asked to pick all those which applied to them to explain their determination to work despite not being in fit health, with the most common answers being given as follows:

“I needed to make sure I earned enough to pay my bills” (72%)
“I didn’t appreciate how ill I was until I arrived at work” (61%)
“I didn’t want to risk losing my job by getting sick” (53%)
“I didn’t want younger colleagues to think I was getting too old for the job” (21%)
“I thought being at work would make me feel more healthy” (14%)

The results also suggest that (based on the answers of those surveyed) almost half of construction workers (47%) are not entitled to payment from an employer if they sustained an injury or illness due to being freelance, contracted and / or self-employed. A further 21% of respondents admitted that they were unsure of the sick pay rules in place with their current employer.

Lyndon Wood, CEO and founder of, commented: “Whilst it may be easier for those working in office-based jobs to ‘power through’ and continue to work whilst struck down with illness or injury; for those working in the high-pressured and manual construction sector, it is going to have a harsher effect and be far harder to keep going. As a result, it’s extremely worrying to see the results of this study.

“Not only are those willing to work when ill clearly anxious about keeping their jobs and worried about potential replacement, they also make sure their families don’t suffer as a result of their personal situation. Perhaps these results indicate that more needs to be done when it comes to helping hardworking individuals feel secure in their employment after years of dedicated service to a particular industry.”

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