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Mental Health is a Safety Issue

In the 2018 government commissioned report (Thriving at Work) it was stated that men working in the construction and decorating industries are more than 35% more likely to take their own lives. Willmott Dixon and Construction Senior HS&E Manager Shaun Atkins stated that in the predominantly male construction industry, suicide rates are particularly high. Specific pressures include physically hard work, cold and harsh working environments, low pay, long hours, time pressures, job insecurity and a ‘macho’ culture.’ The report found that poor mental health can cost employers throughout the U.K £42bn a year.

07 November 2018

Construction suffers from higher than average mental health issue

In the 2018 government commissioned report (Thriving at Work) it was stated that men working in the construction and decorating industries are more than 35% more likely to take their own lives. Willmott Dixon and Construction Senior HS&E Manager Shaun Atkins stated that in the predominantly male construction industry, suicide rates are particularly high. Specific pressures include physically hard work, cold and harsh working environments, low pay, long hours, time pressures, job insecurity and a ‘macho’ culture.’ The report found that poor mental health can cost employers throughout the U.K £42bn a year.

There are a range of internal and external factors that can affect the amount and type of stress throughout an engineering project cycle. This can include financial or political constrains, environmental issues, governing regulations, and meeting KPI’s such as net revenue, availability of competent resources and deliverable dates. Such pressures can lead to stress which can have a negative impact on efficiency which directly influences financial targets. This can create a stressful environment for the whole workforce and individuals team members.

Reducing Risks is Key

We are encouraged to eliminate hazards at sources as reasonably as practicable and review changes within a project that may have health and safety implications. Mental health is known to directly impact on our physical abilities so it makes sense for mental health and safety to be as paramount as physical health and safety.

Improving mental health can have a positive impact on efficiency, cost and time involved within a project. It can also create space for innovative ideas that can lead to overall improved wellbeing for the project and end users.

Recently the UK has witnessed a more intensive effort to promote mental health wellbeing and introduce new systems for the workplace. These include signing the ‘Time to Chance pledge, training mental health first aiders, stress management days, offering counselling and various other initiatives.

Although positive steps have been taken to raising mental health awareness, we still need to create preventative measures and learn from previous statistics. Mental health and wellbeing could be a defined KPI set in place by clients, involving food practice such as mental health promotion and appropriate support and management for individuals who are affected by mental illness.

If we can illustrate the preventative steps we take, we can encourage a workforce that is aware of signs of mental health issues. We should focus on the positive impacts of mental health wellbeing on efficiency, innovation and cost of a project, as well as creating a mindful engineering workforce.

If you would like advice or any assistance from one of our experienced consultants please give us a call on 01522 533388.

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