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01

Oct

Construction Worker Suicide Rate Puts Focus on Men’s Mental Health

Author: Rene Garcia

ConstructionWorkerSuicideRatePutsFocusonMentalHealth

When it comes to health and safety on a construction or building site, it’s easy to focus on visible hazards, such as the lack of safety signage, improperly stored equipment, or damaged personal protection gear. But what happens when the hazard is almost invisible until it’s too late? How do you make a job site safer when the hazard is the worker, and he intentionally harms himself because of his working conditions? How do construction companies stop their men from killing themselves? 

Construction is the Deadliest Professional Industry in the UK 

According to the Office of National Statistics in the UK, more than 1,400 construction workers committed suicide between 2011 and 2015, singling it out as the leading industry for workers who take their own lives. In 2016 alone, 450 workers in construction killed themselves, making the rate three times the national average for men. Put another way, that’s more than one suicide per day for a single industry. 

The reason for the high worker suicide rate in construction is difficult to ascertain since there are several variables to consider. First, most workers in building construction are male, and men commit more successful suicides than women. Second, the construction industry often sends workers far away from home, isolating them from friends and family. Third, construction can foster a rough culture of bullying, substance abuse, and gambling. 

Mark Carrington, a health and safety consultant, explains, “It’s a high-pressure environment. A lot of guys are away from family all week, when every night you might be on the booze, you’re in a room by yourself. Loneliness, the drink, the pressure – the banter when it goes too far and becomes bullying.” As a result, a worker struggling with mental health might end up with more problems as they try to cope using different methods. 

Less Margin for Construction Subcontractors Means More Risk to Mental Health 

Not every construction company has the resources for the specialized care that mental health requires. This is especially true farther along the supply chain where subcontractors are involved who typically operate on razor-thin margins, small crews, and tiny budgets. Often times, care for mental health becomes a secondary or tertiary priority to completing building projects on time and within budget. As a result, workers can crack under the stress. 

Understanding Why Male Mental Health Matters in the Workplace 

Sustainability in supply chains means protecting the workforce from harm, but not every organization knows how to identify these risks, especially when they aren’t visible in the traditional sense, like when it comes to mental health. Fortunately, Avetta has a whitepaper that explores why male mental health is a critical issue in traditionally male-dominated industrial environments around the world. This publication offers steps organizations can take to address these issues.  

Specifically, you will learn: 

  • How stereotypes have played a role in current mental health problems in male-dominated workplaces 

  • Why it is important to be aware of the mental health issues within an organization 

  • How employers can address male mental health 

 

To learn more, you can download the whitepaper here: https://www.avetta.com/resources/items/male-mental-health, or call 844-633-3801, or email blog@avetta.com