Work to Live, Live to Work - Where do you fit?

As construction workers we face a lot of issues, with workplace safety our primary concern. But our lives reach further than simply working safely. Health is also a huge issue for construction workers.

Working long hours, many with families to support, it’s paramount we remain in good health. However, most of us tend to fall short when it comes to looking after ourselves. We all like to feel good, yet we neglect to do the things that maximise our health.

We work hard in our construction careers, looking forward to relaxing in retirement. Unfortunately for many, chronic disease is interfering with our retirement plans in the form of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and various types of cancer. Some of us are not even making it to retirement.

95% of Aussies have at least 1 risk factor, while 60% of us have at least 3 risk factors.

What is a risk factor?

Do you:

  • Smoke?
  • Eat less than 2 serves of fruit and less than 5 serves of veg daily? Or overeat pre-packaged foods / take away foods?
  • Drink alcohol excessively – binge drinking or have less than 2 alcohol free days?
  • Participate in less than 30 mins per day of physical exercise 5 times per week?
  • Have high stress levels?

All these things are considered risk factors that are contributing to an epidemic of obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, strokes, and cancer.

By choosing to improve just one of these areas we can dramatically change the state of our health.

So why focus on workers?

As construction workers we spend most of our time at work. Having a fit and healthy workforce has proven to be a more productive workforce, a safer workforce, and a happier place to be.

The Healthy Workers – Healthy Futures initiative is available for all workers and workplaces. The initiative is designed to bring a focus of health and wellbeing into the workplace.

The CFMEU has an easily adaptive approach to ensuring access to quality health and wellbeing programs and resources, to enable workers to achieve healthier lifestyle behaviours for the betterment of themselves and the industry.

For the programs to work it is essential that workers get to have their say in regards to their health rather than being told what to do. By consulting with workers as to their needs, we can ensure that the programs meet the workers’ expectations, improve morale, and take the guess work out for employers.

If you are thinking about your health and would like some assistance with quitting smoking, nutrition, alcohol, and physical activity please contact Esther van Arend on the details provided below.

Like to see a healthier workplace? You might be interested in becoming a health advocate.

What is a Workplace Health Advocate / Champion?

Esther, our Healthy Worker Advisor, would love to hear from you if you are interested in this role. You do not have to be perfect in any way. Even just cooking some great healthy meals, or looking to give up smoking, or increasing your activity through jumping on the pushy, or spending more time with family. Any of these things are great stories to help motivate others. Being a workplace health advocate can be a handy addition to any resume.

To participate in health and wellness programs or initiatives please contact:

Esther van Arend
Healthy Worker Advisor

M: 0487 705 522  P: (08) 8231 5532  E:  W:
A: level 1, 32 South Terrace, ADELAIDE  SA  5000



This initiative is funded by the Australian Government


  • Want help making healthier choices? Download the ‘Swap it Don’t Stop it’ smart phone app
  • Looking to improve health
  • Cut your cancer risk or call the cancer council helpline 13 11 20
  • As soon as you quit, you start recovering or call Quitline 13 78 48
  • 90% of bowel cancer can be cured if treated in time
  • Up to 60% of type 2 Diabetes is preventable through diet and exercise or call Diabetes SA 1300 136 588
  • For great motivation plus more go to
  • Healthy eating, Active living or call 1300 36 27 87 for free heart health information.
  • Call SA Health Coaching Service on 1300 650 742 (free service) for personal, individualised, one-on-one support for 6 months from qualified health professionals to set and achieve your goals

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