Supporting good mental health is important for all of us, but this month, being Tradies Health Month, we’re turning our attention specifically to the construction industry. Did you know that there is a significantly higher rate of suicide in the construction industry, with over one in 20 construction industry workers contemplating suicide each year? This research, commissioned by the Building Employee’s Redundancy Trust (BERT), is both sad and alarming. As employers, we can all do our part to improve these numbers, which benefits both the individuals and the workplace in general.
Mental health is an extremely complex area, where there’s not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. We’ve compiled some ideas that may work for you or your organisation and we’d love to hear your ideas too.
Reducing Hazards at Work
Part of the reason for poor mental health outcomes in the construction industry is due to the hazardous nature of some roles and workplaces. As a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) there are obligations to reduce exposure to work-related hazards, which includes those that could cause a mental health issue. Discouraging workers from having a ‘she’ll be right’ attitude towards their safety is imperative to a safe workplace.
Look After Each Other
Having healthy relationships with colleagues can mean when things aren’t going well, whether at work or at home, there’s someone to talk to. Communication is key to supporting people through tough times. Sometimes, this will mean asking if someone is ok, when they display changes that indicate they’re possibly not feeling the best, even if they haven’t said anything specific.
It might sound a bit ‘woo woo’ for some in the construction industry, but we think simple mindfulness exercises can make a great difference to those moments when work or life just becomes that bit too stressful. There are many mindfulness exercises out there; we quite like the five senses exercise because it’s easy to do and to remember.
Start by simply noticing five things you can see.
Then notice four things you can feel. Really bring awareness to the sense of say, the feeling of the hardhat on your head.
Notice three things you can hear. Background noises help you to bring your attention to the less obvious sounds around you.
Notice two things you can smell and then finally, notice one thing you can taste, in the moment.
At Workplace Central, we’re workforce management specialists. If you need support in growing your business, managing recruitment, staffing issues or workplace health and safety, give us a call today!
If you or someone you know in the construction industry are doing it tough and would like help, you can call Mates In Construction on 1300 MIC 111 (1300 642 111). This is a 24/7 line. In an emergency, call 000.