Ferrovial joins World Day for Safety and Health at Work


Ferrovial worker at Plaza Mayor Madrid
The ILO celebrates World Day for Safety and Health at Work on April 28 to promote the prevention of occupational related accidents and illnesses worldwide. This is an awareness campaign with the objective of focusing the world’s attention on new trends in the field of safety and health at work, and on the serious problem of occupational injuries and illnesses.  Ferrovial works to create a risk-free environment for all of its employees, including users of infrastructures and services. There are two principles that govern the company’s actions: "Target Zero", and the belief that any accident can be avoided.  Providing safe and healthy work environments assist workers in feeling at ease when doing their jobs, and it is no secret that if people are content while working they perform their jobs with a more positive attitude and more productively. In addition, this type of work environment reduces the likelihood of accidents and illnesses and the resulting absenteeism.  According to the WHO, a healthy work environment is a place where everyone works together to achieve a state of health and well-being. From the HSQE Management Team of Ferrovial, we want to take advantage of the significance of this day to raise awareness among all of our workers regarding the importance of maintaining healthy practices in order to create a safe and sound working environment in all work locations.  Health problems, and especially mental health issues, affect a significant percentage of the population. According to an ESE-MED-Spain survey, 19.5% of people experience a mental disorder at some point in their lives. In a study carried out within the 2014-2016 Strategic Plan of the Centre for Biomedical Research in the Mental Health Network (CIBERSAM), it was concluded that mental health problems are the second most common cause of sick leave (Moreno, JO, López Bastida, J., Montejo-González, AL, Osuna-Guerrero, R., and Duque-González, B. (2009); The socioeconomic costs of mental illness in Spain, European Journal of Health Economics, 10 (4), 361-369).  According to the European Union, mental health issues are the second most common work-related health problems on the continent. Their data show the following: between 50% and 60% of all lost work days can be attributed to stress and psycho-social problems.  The workplace offers an excellent opportunity to promote the practice of healthy habits since the majority of adults are at work most of the day. In addition, at work we tend to be sedentary, and this makes us more prone to developing certain diseases. In a recent poll conducted in the European Union, half of the respondents said they did little or no exercise at work. At least two thirds of adults in Western Europe do not engage in enough physical activity, and the amount of such exercise continues to decrease. This lack of physical activity is capable of causing as much as 10% of all deaths in Europe, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).  Physical activity is an important factor in enhancing physical and mental health. Regular exercise, even performed with a moderate intensity level, can reduce the mortality rate, improve life quality, and prevent certain diseases. It reduces the risk of chronic infirmities such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and some types of cancer. Moreover, physical exercise lowers blood pressure and regulates cholesterol levels. It also helps to improve mental health by reducing stress, anxiety, and depressive disorders, in addition to promoting well-being and self-esteem 

Health and wellness programs 

The aim of health and wellness programs is to emphasize the importance that leading a healthy life implies for workers, not only in terms of good eating habits but also with regard to the need for physical exercise.  There are many studies and a large body of research that link physical activity in general, or in the workplace, to an improvement in health and productivity, to economic benefits that result from the effort, to increased life expectancy, or to an improvement in the quality of life of people.  Physical activity programs in the workplace can reduce sick leaves by up to 32% and increase productivity by as much as 52%.  For all of these reasons, numerous initiatives have been launched at Ferrovial in recent years based on three fundamental pillars: 
  • Nutrition 
  • Physical activity 
  • Health and personal well-being 
Since implementation of these programs began, the work environment has improved dramatically and has promoted creativity, commitment, motivation and productivity, and has also reduced costs due to less illness and a lower rate of absenteeism.  Among the various initiatives for promoting healthy habits that have been implemented in the different business areas and subsidiaries, the following stand out: 
  • The HASAVI program is an innovative health and well-being project implemented at Ferrovial Services Spain. Its objective is to promote healthy habits and lifestyles among employees based on the three aforementioned pillars, using the work environment as a motivation tool. 
  • The program at Cintra entitled Choose the Healthiest Path (Elige el camino más saludable), aimed at producing among all of its workers a willingness to adopt healthy lifestyles and to share these experiences by building support networks that motivate others to achieve their goals. 
  • At Amey, the program Mental Health Ambassadors has a network of emissaries, whose purpose is to increase awareness and understanding of mental health issues and promote and incorporate change within the workplace, thereby challenging the stigma related to mental health issues. 
  • The Health & Wellbeing Program at Broadspectrum offers various initiatives and ventures classified according to "Mind Health", "Nutritional Health” & “Physical Health”. 
  • Ferrovital, a program aimed at all employees of Ferrovial Corporation, includes workshops, health talks and physiotherapy services, among others. 
  • Wellness Week, which takes place at the Construction Headquarters as well as at Ferrovial Agroman UK, is aimed at helping all employees take the initiative to manage and maintain their own health and well-being. 
  • The Ferrovial Olympics has an average of 1,200 participants each year. 
  • Mindfulness workshops, which are taught at the Corporate University. 
The goal of all these measures is to help employees achieve a higher quality of life, which not only will help them to feel better, but will also assist them in developing personal and social skills.  From the Directorate of Quality, Safety, Health and Environment at Ferrovial, we encourage you to join us on April 28th in celebrating in a healthy way the annual World Day for Safety and Health at Work. 


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