According to data from the CDC, construction workers are at a very high risk for suicide – a rate of 53.3 per 100,000 workers.
The following are contributing factors leading to these statistics:
- Early hours and late nights on the job, especially during critical project phases
- Separation from family due to travel from project to project across states and cities leading to loneliness and isolation
- Lack of a steady paycheck due to regular lay-off periods or seasonal work
- Construction workers often struggle with pain, stress and fatigue from injuries which leads to alcohol, prescription medication and illegal drug use
- Working in a fearless, risk-taking environment reduces the fear of life and death situations
Construction is a high-pressure industry with budgets, schedules and quality control to deal with. If you are on the losing end of things, there is a lot of anxiety, frustration and anger which cannot always be exposed in the workplace. This “tough guy” culture makes it difficult and very uncomfortable for workers to talk to their co-workers or managers about mental health issues.
The warning signs for suicide can include the following:
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
- Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Displaying extreme mood swings
- Giving tools away to fellow workers
The devastating truth is that all too often, people who experience mental health conditions – which can lead to suicidal despair suffer in silence. And unfortunately a majority of suicide prevention and mental health efforts have not included construction workers.
Premier Safety Solutions
Maryland Construction Safety Consultants
PO Box 353
Taneytown, MD 21787