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Construction Workers Mental Health Discussed at Seminar

Mental health volunteers have found that construction workers are six times more likely to die from suicide than falling from heights on site.

At a seminar hosted by three building engineering bodies, representatives from mental health charity Samaritans explained that the industry must pay more attention to stress and depression in the sector.

Will Skinner, Samaritans Regional Partnerships Officer, commented: “With the amount of energy being put into managing physical risk; you have to question whether the industry is getting the health and safety balance right.”

The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA), the CIBSE Patrons and the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) organised and hosted the ceremony which heard how depression and suicide was the “forgotten health and safety issue.”

Paul McLaughlin, Chief Executive of BESA, chaired the event and said that according to a recent survey of ECA and BESA members, 80% of building engineering sector employers recognised that mental health was a significant issue that was already impacting upon their business.

McLaughlin said: “Both large and small companies share the same concerns, but many simply don’t know how to deal with this.

“The first thing you have to do is acknowledge there is an issue, which is why we are now working with Samaritans.”

Every 90 minutes in the UK, someone takes their own life and in 2014, there were 6,122 recorded deaths by suicide in the UK, of which 76% were men; whereas just 1,775 people died in traffic accidents.

Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50, with the highest suicide rate among males aged 45-59.

The primary risk factors for suicide are mental illness and depression, which can be incurred by issues such as stressful working environments, drugs, alcohol and financial problems.

Mr Skinner told the seminar that men from poorer economic backgrounds are also 10 times more likely to die by suicide than those who are financially better off.

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BDC 318 : Jul 2024