Is Your Construction Company Prioritising Mental Health?

Burflex House, Clay Street, Hull, East Yorkshire, HU8 8HA E.

Burflex House, Clay Street, Hull, East Yorkshire, HU8 8HA E.

Is Your Construction Company Prioritising Mental Health?

Is Your Construction Company Prioritising Mental Health?

Today (October 10th) is World Mental Health Day and with that in mind, perhaps it’s time for construction companies around the UK and beyond to see what improvements could be made for their workforce in this regard.

One firm already making strides in this area is Jehu, with contracts manager Vince Alm telling the BBC that measures are now in place to tackle poor mental health after one of the firm’s labourers killed themselves.

These measures include visits from charities to make sure employees have the opportunity to talk if they feel they need to. Mr Alm explained: “We all like to think we’re macho but we all suffer the same problems. There is help out there and things do get better.”

According to Office for National Statistics figures, men in the construction industry are three times more likely to kill themselves than men on average.

Another company offering more support to staff members where mental health is concerned is Bouygues, which has introduced mental health first aiders so issues can be spotted as early as possible.

Corporate social responsibility director Leigh Hughes noted that employees are often by themselves for long parts of the day, working on tractors, diggers or cranes. He went on to say: “Bottling your feelings up, bottling your depression and anxiety up, is probably one of the worst things you can do… It’s really important to talk, whether that’s chatting over a cup of coffee with your work colleagues…or getting an appointment with your GP.”

The Construction Financial Management Association has identified ways in which you can spot untreated mental health conditions in the workplace, such as increased tardiness or absenteeism, as well as presenteeism (going to work but not functioning properly).

Also look out for decreased self-confidence, decreased productivity because of distraction and cognitive slowing, isolation from peers, agitation and increased interpersonal conflict among members of staff, increased feelings of being overwhelmed, increased voluntary and involuntary attrition, and decreased problem-solving abilities.

Other manifestations of mental health issues, which may be more hidden, include legal and illicit substance abuse that affects workplace performance, near hits, incidents and injuries that affect safety and risk performance metrics, and quality defects resulting in waste and rework.

Steps to develop a sustained model for dealing with mental health awareness at work include assessing your firm’s readiness to handle mental health crises and suicide prevention interventions. This will help you work out how best to incorporate certain services into your wellness, safety and employee benefits programmes.

Employees should also be educated so you’re able to build a preventative culture in the workplace. Company newsletters could include mental health and suicide prevention, while you could also include helpline information on bulletin boards, in locker rooms and in other public places around the site.

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