Stress Awareness and Mental Health in the UK Construction Industry

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Every day, two construction workers in the UK die by suicide, which is ten times more than the fatalities from health and safety accidents.

Stress, anxiety, and depression account for around 27% of all work-related illnesses in construction and costs businesses up to £100 billion annually.

As it’s Stress Awareness Month, it’s important to highlight that there is clearly a need for a change in a sector that has the highest rates of mental health and suicide in the country. By raising awareness of mental health issues in construction and offering the necessary support to our workers, we can support our teams, retain valuable employees, and run our businesses more effectively.

Main sources of stress in the construction industry.

Working in the construction industry is stressful, and people in these jobs are often subject to a range of factors that take a toll on their mental health.

Physical Demands
Construction jobs are often very physically demanding and require workers to spend time outside in varying weather conditions. Heavy workloads, long hours, tight deadlines, and long commutes can also add to the demands, leaving workers feeling overwhelmed, burnt out and contributing to increased levels of stress.

Job Insecurity
Many construction workers are self-employed, leading to much greater insecurity. With projects being limited-term, such uncertainty adds to feelings of job insecurity, causing more stress and anxiety for both business owners and workers.

Social Stigma
The construction industry still carries a significant social stigma surrounding mental health, particularly for men. Workers are expected to keep their problems to themselves or face being judged or ridiculed, leading to a much greater culture of silence around mental health issues than many other sectors.

How to improve mental health in the UK construction industry.

Mental health is a crucial but often overlooked aspect of worker health and safety in the UK construction industry. However, by implementing the following steps, companies can make a positive difference and help prevent their workers from becoming another statistic.

Recognize the Signs of Stress
It’s essential to educate construction workers on the signs of stress and how it can impact their lives. This includes irritability, anxiety, trouble sleeping, and difficulty concentrating. Once they understand the signs, they can seek the help they need to manage their stress effectively.

Update your Company Health and Safety Policy
It’s crucial to ensure that the company’s health and safety guidelines contain detailed information about mental health and how workers can seek support. This will help employees feel comfortable in seeking help if they are struggling with their mental health.

Encourage a Work/Life Balance
Employers should consider implementing flexible working hours to help workers balance their work and personal life. This can reduce stress levels, increase productivity and motivation, and reduce absenteeism.

Foster a Culture of Openness
Changing traditional attitudes regarding mental health can take time, but businesses and organisations can help to create a culture of openness regarding mental health. Encourage workers to talk about their stress, anxiety, depression, or mental health problems, and provide support and resources for those who need it.

 

Protecting workers’ mental health is essential for the construction industry’s success. By implementing such steps, we can reduce absenteeism and staff turnover and make our businesses stronger for the future.

Let’s work together to change attitudes towards mental health in the construction industry and help workers beat stress, anxiety, and depression. Remember, taking care of ourselves is our first priority, and we all need to think more about self-care this Stress Awareness Month 2023.

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This article, as with all other articles we produce, is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute formal advice and should not be relied upon as such. For bespoke, unbiased advice relating to your commercial roofing project please contact us and we would be pleased to assist.

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