Mental Health is a key issue for construction workers

by Alex on September 26, 2017

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When HR services provider Randstad conducted a survey of 3,400 construction workers, 73% of respondents said they felt their employers didn’t recognise the early signs of mental health issues.

Randstad also discovered that a quarter of construction workers are considering leaving the industry within the next twelve months due to poor mental health.

These figures are concerning, but highlight just how big an issue mental health is in the construction industry.

Mental health and construction: the challenges

Given the nature of construction site work, it should come as no surprise that the main challenges relating to mental health are high levels of stress and striking a decent work-life balance.

Construction is inherently risky, and with projects often taking place within tight timescales and requiring attendance from workers outside of what would be deemed ‘normal’ working hours, stress-induced mental health issues are a real threat.

No outlet

Of those surveyed, two-thirds said they didn’t have access to outlets at work that would enable them to discuss their mental health.

As noted above, the construction industry is a prime candidate for employees suffering the mental impact of overworking and dealing with high levels of risk. It’s therefore vital employers work to identify the early signs of mental health problems.

It should always be possible for workers to reach out to their management team or HR department if they feel unwell. Unfortunately, it looks like this might be a mute point within many organisations, with 73% of employees saying their employer didn’t appear to recognise mental health issues.

A problem across genders

Randstad’s research also canvassed 900 women, three-quarters of whom admitted to experiencing loss of sleep due to poor mental health.

This is particularly concerning when you take into account the fact the same research indicates female construction workers are “more acutely affected by mental illness than men”.

Beyond the issues relating to sleep, this also appears to have a profound effect on their output, with 43% of women experiencing reduced productivity relating to mental health issues (compared to 38% of men).

Turning to alternative forms of relief

When no outlet exists, people usually turn to other forms of relief, and the Randstad survey suggests that alcohol and tobacco are the vices construction workers rely on most readily to relieve stress.

Given the figures above, it’s safe to assume that the employees in question are in part doing this because they don’t feel they can approach their H&S manager.

An open door policy for mental health issues in construction is sorely needed. This can be born from a safety-first culture that prides itself on great communication, and H&S management that recognises mental health as a serious issue within the construction industry.

Source: https://www.constructionnews.co.uk/best-practice/mind-matters/shocking-mental-health-stats-uncovered-in-construction-survey/10023189.article?blocktitle=Health-and-safety-news&contentID=14666

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