The Bupa Health and Wellbeing Award: Costain

Highly Commended for Business in the Community’s Bupa Health and Wellbeing Award 2019.

Costain: Supporting construction workers with mental health issues

  • 300 trained mental health first aiders – one for every 15 staff
  • 50 per cent of construction workers suffer from mental health issues
  • A goal to maintain an above 70 per cent employee engagement score

Making Costain a great place to work, where people can be at their very best, has long been a key aim for the business. In fact, staff wellbeing has become a strategic boardroom issue during the past five years for the infrastructure business, which works across the energy, water and transport sectors. 

But it was in 2018 that the company’s strategy started to take shape at the heart of all operations, focusing on mental as well as physical and social wellbeing, and building on its previous strategy, which focused on physical occupational health. 

“We’re creating and promoting a culture that embraces wellbeing and work collaboratively with our clients, supply chain and industry bodies to share our ethos, thereby helping to promote wellbeing across the industry.”

Tony Bickerstaff, Chief Financial Officer, Costain

Now, each of Costain’s project directors has a responsibility for the wellbeing strategy, which has several goals. These include: halving the amount of lost time as a result of wellbeing-related issues; maintaining an employee engagement score of more than 70 per cent; and retaining the best people, so that staff turnover is less than the industry average. 

There is a big focus on mental health as part of this. More than half of construction workers have suffered with mental health1, with one in four considering suicide2

All senior managers must complete mental health awareness training, and the business now has more than 300 mental health first aiders – that’s one for every 15 employees. The company is also a signatory of the Time to Change pledge3 and says that it treats mental illness as it would treat a physical illness, with robust policies and procedures in place to support those that need help. 


  1. PBC Today: Stress and mental health issues in construction…
  2. 1/4 of builders have suicidal thoughts! Does more need to be done about mental health?
  3. Time to Change: employer pledge…

Unless otherwise stated, information in this impact story has been supplied by Costain. 

Business in the Community is creating a skilled and inclusive workforce for today and tomorrow