Construction Safety Week – Positive Mental Health

26 Oct 2017

Day 4 of Safety Week is upon us and it’s a very important topic today.

Dermot Carey

A couple of years ago, the CIF realised that suicide and self harm were significant issues for workers in the construction sector.  Statistics showed that suicide killed more construction workers than falls from heights or any other accident on site.  That is why we launched the ‘Mind our Workers’ campaign with Pieta House.

I’m happy to note that today in a number of sites, Pieta House and other mental health groups are giving ‘mental health’ talks to construction workers.  We really appreciate these efforts.

We’ve been through a lot over the last few years.   We need to look out for each other, everyday.  Our video today with Baz and Nancy shows how even a small gesture can make a difference to your workmates.

There are many factors at play behind the construction industry’s relatively high suicide rate and mental health numbers.  The first is part of our ‘can do’ attitude – asking for help is not something that comes naturally to us.  I would add that asking if someone needs help is equally rare in the industry.  We’re a predominantly male industry, on site in particular.  We hear all the time that ‘men don’t talk about mental health’.  Young men are particularly isolated within their own mental environment.  It takes leadership to proactively talk about mental health issues on site but it can really help people who are struggling silently.

The recession has left scars on everyone.  And now that the industry is picking up, construction workers are working harder, longer and unfortunately in some cases having to commute longer hours to work.  These pressures can all add up and sometimes lead to mental health issues.  The message is:

  • Look after your mental and physical health and let your colleagues know you’re there for them.

Employers are taking steps to address mental health issues in the workplace.  Most important is to break the stigma associated with speaking about mental health issues.  People need to feel that they can talk about it.  Mental health is increasingly being put on the safety agenda and our industry has a strong record of enhancing safety.

There’s a wealth of healthy resources online and if you’re struggling with mental health or a manager who is dealing with staff you should contact…

Myth vs Facts

Full Brochure

Suicide Key Statistics


Today’s Baz & Nancy Video

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