The wellbeing of the nation is a hot topic and not just in a physical sense, but the hidden menace that has contributed to over 400 construction workers taking their own lives every year – mental health, an issue that HAE EHA is determined to tackle head on.
Just like the physical health and safety of employees in the Hire industry, we are also committed to raising the awareness of mental health issues and have signed the Building Mental Health (BMH) charter (https://www.
At our annual conference in early October Revd. Kevin Fear of the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and Martin Coyd OBE, Head of Health, Safety & Wellbeing at Mace Construction, gave a powerful presentation on mental health, including how to identify employees who may be struggling and the measures that companies can take to support them.
It is clear that all stakeholders in the Hire industry need to pull together to tackle mental illness among the workforce, which is not only a problem for the sufferer, but comes at a huge cost to business with 12.5million days lost in the UK due to work-related stress in 2016-17.
Adopting the BMH charter can provide the framework for promoting good mental health in the hire and construction industry. Whether brought on by pressure in the workplace or issues outside, workers need to be encouraged to discuss their problems with their managers or other trained staff and know that there is support available from their employer.
Training staff to be mental health first aiders will provide discreet support for individuals, while providing good working conditions, ensuring employees have a healthy work life balance and opportunities for development will help reduce work-related stress levels.
In addition to World Mental Health Day in October, the recent announcements of mental health checks for school pupils and the government appointment of a suicide prevention minister, our industry, which is so vital to the economic wellbeing of the nation, will be producing, implementing and communicating mental health at work plans that will hopefully help reduce the loss of life.