Suicide kills more construction workers than falls

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New research has revealed that suicide kills six times as many construction workers as falling from heights

Mental health charity the Samaritans has revealed suicide kills six times as many construction workers as falling from heights.

The organisation has called for more attention to be put into tackling depression and stress within the construction industry.

Speaking during a seminar hosted by three building engineering bodies, Samaritans regional partnerships officer Will Skinner said: “With the amount of energy being put into managing physical risk; you have to question whether the industry is getting the health and safety balance right.”

The seminar was hosted by the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA), the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA); and the CIBSE Patrons. Delegates were told depression and suicide were the “forgotten health and safety issue”.

Chair of the event, BESA chief executive Paul McLaughlin said 80 per cent employers in the building engineering sector were aware of the impact of mental health on workers and on their business.

He said:  “Both large and small companies share the same concerns, but many simply don’t know how to deal with this.

“The first thing you have to do is acknowledge there is an issue, which is why we are now working with Samaritans.”

According to the data, there were 6,122 recorded suicides in the UK in 2014. A total of 76 per cent were men. Comparatively, only 1,775 people died in traffic accidents during the same period.

McLaughlin said: “There are thousands of risk assessments being carried out across the industry and very few even mention mental health.

“If something is important; you need to start measuring it, which is what the industry does with physical injuries and accidents. We need to introduce something similar for mental health.”

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