In 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found men working in construction have one of the highest suicide rates compared with other industries, according to www.dol.gov. Their rate of suicide is about four times higher than the general population.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has formed a task force of industry partners, unions and educators to raise awareness regarding the types of stress that can push construction workers into depression and toward suicide. In addition to alerting stakeholders, the task force encourages industry employers to share and discuss available resources with their workers.
The task force is calling on the industry to participate in a Suicide Prevention Safety Stand-Down Sept. 6-10 to raise awareness about the unique challenges construction workers face. The stand-down will coincide with National Suicide Prevention Month in September.
“Work-related stress can have severe impacts on mental health and without proper support may lead to substance abuse and even suicide,” said Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Jim Frederick. “Workers in construction face many work-related stressors that may increase their risk factors for suicide, such as the uncertainty of seasonal work, demanding schedules and workplace injuries that are sometimes treated with opioids.”
The Suicide Prevention Safety Stand-Down started as a regional initiative in OSHA’s Kansas City, Mo., and St. Louis offices. More than 5,000 people participated in the 2020 Suicide Prevention Safety Stand-Down, and OSHA encourages others to join the effort in 2021.