Safety Week 2020 – Monday 19th October

Safety Week 2020

19th – 23rd October 2020

Use #CIFSafety20 to share your companies activities


Monday, 19th October

Mental Health, Welfare and Wellbeing in Construction

Mental Health

Mental health covers a wide range of issues, including mild or moderate anxiety and stress, drug and alcohol abuse and disorders such as severe depression and schizophrenia. However, workers mental health and wellbeing also relates to their general mental and emotional health and their ability to cope with the normal stresses of life.

This year, we must acknowledge the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on society in general. All of our lives and routines have been affected by measures introduced to contain the virus and to protect the population. Many construction workers were unable to work, and this brought its own challenges.

According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), 18.5% of the Irish population has a mental health disorder. This places Ireland 3rd highest in Europe (after Finland and the Netherlands) in the estimated prevalence of a mental health issue.

Spectrum Life shared stark statistics, which highlighted that:

  • One in four deaths of young men aged 15-39 in Ireland is due to alcohol
  • Suicide is the leading cause of death among young Irish men aged 15 to 24
  • Alcohol is a factor in more than half of completed suicides in Ireland and over one-third of episodes of deliberate self-harm.

Mental Health, Welfare and Wellbeing

According to Dermot Carey, Director Safety & Training, CIF, “Mental Health and Wellbeing is now a critical part of the construction industry’s safety culture. The industry began a transformative journey to improve its safety, reduce accidents and prevent fatalities in the 1980s. The next step in this journey is to ensure companies are equipped to help support and promote their employees’ mental health and well-being … Covid-19 has only increased the pressure on our employees’ personal and professional lives. To protect our employees and sustain productivity as the industry rebuilds Ireland 2020 and shapes Ireland 2040, we must build strong and resilient organisational cultures that support them. I’m confident that the dynamic, adaptable companies in construction and our industry can achieve as proud a record in mental wellness as we have achieved collectively in safety”.

CIF Report – ‘Mental Health in the Construction Sector’

In 2016, the CIF began a campaign to focus on improving equality, diversity, and inclusion across the construction industry. The CIF views improved equality, diversity & inclusion as a sound basis for promoting employee wellbeing. In August 2020, the CIF launched a Report on ‘Mental Health in the Construction Sector’, which outlines recommendations from a detailed survey of members; this report represents a benchmark for measurement of progress made towards an industry culture that protects, supports and nurtures employee wellbeing. The resultant recommendations for companies are as follows:

  1. Prioritise the project management and supervision of each job to establish and maintain
    1. Realistic deadlines
    2. Clear communication between management and staff
    3. Healthy work hours and work periods
  2. Develop a collaborative company culture where teamwork and support are encouraged and rewarded. Senior management need to “demonstrate and not just articulate that teamwork matters”.
  3. Assign a senior person within the company with the responsibility for mental health. The assigned individual to be provided the support and resources to deliver the support structure.
  4. Engage staff in a frank discussion on mental health with the aim of developing appropriate policies and procedure.
  5. Develop succinct and jargon free mental health policies and procedures and clearly communicate to all staff.
  6. Introduce an open & confidential process whereby employees can report a mental health issue.
  7. Consider and invest in a range of educational initiatives (e.g. talks, workshops, activities) to inform and promote good mental health in the workplace.
  8. Consider formal training for staff, selecting an accredited course that matches your company’s needs.

Examples of supports available include:


Supports for Employers


Build Health
‘Build Health’ is a joint initiative between the CIF, Laya Healthcare and Spectrum Life that can support both employers and employees in the sector. The mental health and wellbeing support programme offers resources to leaders in the sector and the 24/7 Mental Health Support Programme offers invaluable and confidential help and advice to those who need it. For more details, see attached or visit the CIF Build Health Webpage:

Construction Workers’ Sick Pay Trust
The trust is committed to the promotion of better health, including mental health and wellbeing for all workers in the construction sector. During 2019, just over 7,000 sick pay benefit claims were paid to members covered by the Scheme and this is regardless of the type of illness, once certified. For information on how to claim, please visit or email [email protected] or call 01-4977663.

Healthy Ireland
This is a Government-led initiative aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of everyone living in Ireland, provides a range of support materials which can be accessed at the website,

Remedy Clinic
The CIF and Remedy Clinic have also come together to offer members a modern approach to counselling services. For more information, visit

Lighthouse Club
On 3rd June 2020, the Lighthouse Club Construction Industry Charity, supported by the CIF, launched a FREE 24/7 confidential employee assistance helpline and app for everyone in the Irish construction industry. The Helpline can be called anytime on 1800 939 122, and the app ‘Construction Industry Helpline’ can be downloaded on Android or Apple mobile devices. For more information, visit:


Supports for Individuals

In June of this year, the Health Services Executive launched a text-based mental health service. ‘50808’ is a first of its kind for Ireland, a free 24/7 text service, providing everything from a calming chat to immediate support for people going through mental health or emotional crisis. For free 24/7 support in a crisis, free text ‘HELLO’ to 50808.

Lighthouse Club
On 3rd June 2020, the Lighthouse Club Construction Industry Charity, supported by the CIF, launched a FREE 24/7 confidential employee assistance helpline and app for everyone in the Irish construction industry. The Helpline can be called anytime on 1800 939 122, and the app ‘Construction Industry Helpline’ can be downloaded on Android or Apple mobile devices. For more information, visit:

Pieta House
To speak with a therapist any time, day, or night, freephone 1800 247 247 or text ‘HELP’ to 51444. Website may be accessed here:

Freephone Aware’s Support Line is available Monday to Sunday from 10am – 10pm on 1800 80 48 48 or email: [email protected]


Useful Downloads

Mental Health in the Construction Sector
19th October 2020
Outset Support
2.84 MB
LAYA Thrive Bulletin - New Normal
16th October 2020
Outset Support
434.83 KB
LAYA Thrive Bulletin - Digital Detox
16th October 2020
Outset Support
567.44 KB
Heart Health Tips - Spectrum Life
16th October 2020
Outset Support
4.43 MB

Live CIF Webinars

10am – ‘Beyondzero Culture Manager – Jacobs’ – with Tom Parsons.

Registration Link:

2:30pm – ‘Resilience and Coping Mechanisms’ – with Pauline Bergin, Psychotherapist.

Registration Link:

More information

Healthy Ireland –


HSA Guide for Employers – A Guide for Employers

HSA Guide for Employees – A Guide for Employees

Psychosocial Risk Management Process –

Intervention & Support –

Laya Healthcare –

Laya Healthcare –

WRC – Workplace Health & Wellbeing


EU-OSHA – Practical Guide to Wellbeing

Video Links

About Safety Week

Construction Safety Week is an initiative of the Construction Safety Partnership Advisory Committee (CSPAC). This is a grouping of all the main stakeholders in the construction sector in Ireland – Employers, Unions, State Bodies ( in conjunction with the Health & Safety Authority ) and Professional Bodies.

Our collective objective is to continue to highlight the issues of health and safety in the Irish construction industry and to drive continual improvement.

Good health and safety depend on co-operation between all parties on a project – from client to designers and contractors – everyone’s safety depends on their co-workers or the person working beside you or above you.

The mission for this week is to re-focus on health and safety and it’s a call to action for companies of all sizes to run a safety event this week.


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