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Aug
2016
25

Suicide Rate Among Construction Workers is FOUR TIMES the National Average

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ConstructionDIVE has published a two-part story on the suicide epidemic that is quietly taking hold of the construction industry. The article cites a July CDC report which examined suicide rates among different industries, noting that construction and extraction top the list:

The CDC report released in July was a first-of-its kind study that separated suicide rates by industry. It examined 2012 data of 12,312 suicides reported in 17 states and found that the industry with the highest rate of suicide was farming, fishing and forestry (84.5 out of 100,000 workers), followed by construction and extraction (53.3 out of 100,000 workers). Just by sheer numbers, however, construction and extraction topped the list with 1,324 suicides…That 53.3 rate for construction is more than four times the overall U.S. suicide rate of 12.54 in 2012.

Stigma and lack of awareness are the primary obstacles to addressing the problem. Some efforts are being made, however, to bring the issue into focus for industry managers and executives:

In late 2015, the foundation, along with Denver-based RK Mechanical and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, released the first “Construction Industry Blueprint” that guides managers and executives through the process of how to examine their current mental health and suicide prevention efforts in place, as well as how to improve them.

Other efforts are being made to create a space where construction companies and mental health service providers can engage in a dialogue and increase awareness:

The [Construction Financial Management] Association created the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention, and its Phoenix chapter held the first construction industry suicide prevention summit in April 2016. The summit drew more than 100 attendees from construction companies and mental health service providers who had the opportunity to speak openly about their experiences with suicide.

[…]After the success of the Phoenix event, the CFMA plans to hold similar summits in the coming months and into 2017.

The article includes a list of what companies can do to improve suicide prevention efforts:

• Offering employee assistance programs (EAPs) for everyone on staff
• Training staff to recognize potential problems in their employees and coworkers, and get them necessary help
• Employing full-time mental health experts
• Hanging up posters with mental health resource information
• Issuing a newsletter for employees about mental health issues
• Hosting toolbox talks at the start of the workday that focus on mental health

To read the article in its entirety, check out parts one and two on ConstructionDIVE.

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2 Comments on “Suicide Rate Among Construction Workers is FOUR TIMES the National Average”

  1. Can the data be broken out to compare represented and non-represented workers? It would be an interesting statistic.

  2. Is there any correlation between union and open shop suicides. I’m led to think open shop suicides would be much greater.

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