Sep 10, 2018
Suicide Prevention in the Construction Industry
BY AsphaltPro Staff
Did you know that the construction/extraction industry ranks in the top five industry categories for the highest numbers of suicide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Occupation and Suicide report.
According to this article by Sally Spencer Thomas, the construction industry is a perfect storm of risk factors for suicide. So this, week, during National Suicide Prevention Week, AsphaltPro wanted to share with our readers
“There is a macho attitude in our industry that resists help,” said Patrick Nelson, President of Lehman-Roberts Company, Memphis, Tennessee, in this article about suicide prevention within our industry. “We need to move past the uncomfortable and lean into areas that help the ‘whole person’ remain healthy in all areas of their lives.”
So, what can you do? The first step is to initiate a shift in your company’s culture and establish open communication about the issue.
“First steps should be directed towards education, awareness and beginning the dialogue,” said David James of FNF Inc. in Tempe, Arizona.
Here are some ways to do just that:
- Hanging posters around the office and jobsites that describe warning signs and offer resource information;
- Incorporating the topic in company newsletter articles to address support and care for workers;
- Addressing the topic in office and field meetings (such as safety meetings and tool box talks);
- Discussing at board or other leadership meetings to develop an action plan;
- Communicating a top-down management message to encourage open dialogue and reduce fear of reprisal;
- Providing easy access to resources both internal and external to the company;
- Establishing and promoting an Employee Assistance Program (EAP);
- Thinking outside the box for worker resources; and
- Initiating comprehensive wellness plans for employees.
“As leaders in this industry we have a responsibility to look at all areas of risk for our team members and for our businesses,” Nelson said. An open dialogue is the first step.