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Employee mental well-being now a major safety concern for construction companies

A new survey has shown that mental well-being has become a significant safety concern for Irish construction companies.

The survey, which was carried out by Empathy Research on behalf of the Construction Industry Federation revealed:

  • 98% acknowledge that staff mental well-being has important safety implications
  • 94% believe it is critically important the industry improves management of employees’ mental well-being.
  • 68% of companies believe the construction sector has a serious issue with staff under reporting issues with their mental well-being in the workplace.
  • 79% of companies reporting they manage mental health issues on an ad-hoc basis with only 13% of micro-enterprises have a formal policy.
  • 29% reported that unrealistic deadlines were a key stressor in the industry.
  • 50% reported that mental health issues affect absenteeism in the industry.

Andy O’Gorman Chairman of the Construction Workers’ Sick Pay Trust said:

“The Trust is very pleased to support the launch of this survey.

“The Construction Workers’ Sick Pay Trust is committed to the promotion of better health, including mental health and wellbeing for all workers in the construction sector.

“He urged all parties to support an increased focus on the mental health and well-being of workers as well as a continued focus on the physical health and safety of workers.”

Director of Safety, Dermot Carey said:

“The construction industry is well recognised as an industry that takes safety very seriously.  During industry shutdown, our membership designed a world class standard operating procedure and induction programme that enabled over 180,000 people return to work safely. 

“Even before the pressure of Covid-19, the industry was working hard to help positively affect their employees’ mental wellbeing. 

“For us, mental health has huge implications for onsite safety and we are working with members to help them help employees in this area. 

“Our survey shows the challenges facing over 47,000 SME and micro-enterprises in the industry in terms of managing wellbeing. 

“If we can support these companies to manage mental wellbeing, we could have a major positive impact on society. To this end, the CIF has produced a guidance note for the industry on supporting mental health amongst its workforce.

The CIF say they are undertaking a year-long initiative to support mental wellbeing amongst its 1400 members and the wider industry.

In October (w/c 19th October), mental wellbeing will be a central theme in the CIF’s annual construction safety week.

This campaign promotes safety across all sectors of the industry with a particular focus on SMEs, micro-enterprises and unqualified people engaging in construction activity.

The vast majority of accidents and fatalities now occur amongst sole-traders, microenterprises and individuals carrying out repairs and one-off construction.

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