Preventing suicide and overdose in the construction industry: Takeaways from CPWR workshop

Original article published by Safety+Health

Photo: CPWR

Washington — A new white paper from CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training details key takeaways from a two-day workshop on “Combating Suicide and Overdose Fatalities Among Construction Workers.”

The workshop took place Aug. 1-2 in the nation’s capital and was funded by NIOSH.

The white paper outlines training available to help workers, best practices for training effectiveness, and smartphone apps to use and hotlines to call when a worker is in need. The resource also looks at related challenges, such as stigma.

CPWR Executive Director Chris Trahan Cain highlights research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing that both male and female workers in construction and extraction jobs “have a higher prevalence of dying by suicide than the average male or female worker.”


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Workplace stress and mental health: OSHA launches webpage

Original article published by Safety+Health

workplace-stress.jpg

Photo: osha.gov

Washington — A new webpage published by OSHA is intended to help employers and workers manage workplace stress while maintaining mental health amid a shifting work climate.

According to NIOSH, nearly 1 out of 5 U.S. adults live with a mental illness. World Health Organization data shows that 83% of U.S. workers experience work-related stress, while 54% find that work stress affects their home life.

“Stress can be harmful to our health and increase mental health challenges” that range from temporary grief and anxiety to clinical mental illness and substance use disorders, OSHA says. “While there are many things in life that induce stress, work can be one of those factors. However, workplaces can also be a key place for resources, solutions and activities designed to improve our mental health and well-being.”

The webpage features training resources, outreach materials and analyses of real-world solutions, as well as other information.

The agency says employers can help workers manage stress by:

  • Being mindful of the unique stressors affecting each employee.
  • Identifying factors that may make it harder for workers to get their jobs done and make adjustments, if possible.
  • Creating a safe and trustworthy work culture by making sure workers know they aren’t alone, their employer understands the stress they’re under, there’s no shame in feeling anxious and asking for help is important.
  • Providing access to supportive services such as coping and resiliency resources, as well as workplace and leave flexibilities without penalty.

“Addressing mental health and stress in the workplace is the right thing to do,” OSHA administrator Doug Parker said in a statement. “Stress is a major determinant of both mental and physical health issues and impacts workplace health and safety.”


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Mental Health Awareness Month

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

“The workplace can be a key location for activities designed to improve well-being among adults,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

Take time this month – and all year round – to promote awareness of worker well-being. Suggestions from CDC:

  • Make mental health self-assessment tools available to employees.
  • Offer free or subsidized clinical screenings for depression from a qualified mental health professional.
  • Distribute materials, including brochures and videos, to employees about the signs and symptoms of poor mental health as well as opportunities for treatment.
  • Provide free or subsidized lifestyle coaching, counseling or self-management programs.
  • Host seminars or workshops that address depression and stress management techniques, such as mindfulness, breathing exercises and meditation, to help employees reduce anxiety and stress.
  • Create and maintain dedicated, quiet spaces for relaxation activities.
  • Provide managers with training to help them recognize the signs and symptoms of stress and depression in team members and encourage them to seek help from qualified mental health professionals.
  • Give employees opportunities to participate in decisions about issues that affect job stress.

To help employers understand the role they play in supporting the mental health of their employees, the National Safety Council and NORC at the University of Chicago created the Mental Health Cost Calculator for Employers, funded by Nationwide. This easy-to-use tool provides business leaders with data-driven insight about the costs of employee mental distress in their workplaces.

Find the calculator at nsc.org/mentalhealthatwork#.


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.

Anxiety and depression in construction workers

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Image from CPWR

Silver Spring, MD — Symptoms of anxiety and depression among construction workers have worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially among women and workers living in poverty, according to a new report from CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training.

Anxiety and depression are of particular importance in the construction industry, CPWR notes, citing a 2020 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study that concluded male construction workers have one of the highest suicide rates among all industries and are at four times greater risk than the general public.

Using 2011-2018 and 2020 data from the National Health Interview Survey, researchers examined self-reported symptoms of anxiety and depression among construction workers to uncover any potential patterns and changes amid the pandemic. During the time frame prior to the pandemic, the number of construction workers who reported feeling anxious at least once a month rose 20%.

Among a subset of nearly 1,300 construction workers who were surveyed in both 2019 and 2020, 43% reported a rise in the level or frequency of anxiety/depression feelings between the two years. Those increased feelings were most prevalent among workers whose family incomes were below the poverty line (61%), female workers (50%) and those ages 18-54 (46%).

The 2020 data shows that symptoms of or medication use for anxiety/depression were nearly three times higher for workers who used prescription opioids in the past year (39%) compared with those who did not (14%).

Construction employers can act by sharing resources with their workers. CPWR offers resources on suicide prevention and preventing opioid deaths, while NIOSH has a webpage on stress at work.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

SAMHSA working to turn National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to three-digit number

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Photo: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Rockville, MD — The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is helping to transition the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to a three-digit number – 988.

According to a press release, Congress designated the updated dialing code in 2020 and the Department of Health and Human Services, through SAMHSA, is investing $282 million for the transition. That funding comes from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and the Biden administration’s fiscal year 2022 budget.

The 988 number is scheduled to be available for calling, texting or chatting nationwide beginning in July.

“Converting to this easy-to-remember, three-digit number will strengthen and expand the existing Lifeline network, providing the public with easier access to lifesaving services,” the release states. “The Lifeline currently helps thousands of people overcome crisis situations every day.”

Citing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, SAMHSA notes that suicide was the 10th-leading cause of death nationally in 2019. It was also the second-leading cause of death among young people that year.

CDC analysis published in 2020 and using 2016 data found that men in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction had a suicide rate of 54.2 per 100,000 workers. The overall average rate for men was 27.4. In addition, men and women in construction and extraction had suicide rates of 49.4 and 25.5, respectively.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 year-round at (800) 273-8255 (TALK).


McCraren Compliance offers training and programs to support companies in suicide awareness and prevention. Contact us for additional information to help you with this very important workplace safety.

Office spaces can be redesigned for greater wellness benefits, researchers say

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Tucson, AZ — Reimagined office spaces can help reduce worker stress and enhance overall well-being, a pair of University of Arizona researchers say in a recently published paper.

The researchers propose a framework based on seven areas for designing the built environment for well-being: resiliency, environment, movement, relationships, sleep, spirituality and nutrition.

Paper co-author Esther Sternberg, a professor of medicine and a member of the UA BIO5 Institute, drew on research conducted during her tenure with the General Services Administration. Those studies show that office layout can encourage workers to move more often, thereby reducing stress and improving sleep.

The paper cites many other studies, “such as those showing the sleep-improving effects of natural light, the well-being benefits of nature and the health benefits of proper building air circulation, which can improve cognitive functioning and reduce fatigue by reducing pollutants.”

Sternberg adds: “This paper is a merging of two fields: integrative health and the built environment. The concept of designing the built environment for physical health and emotional well-being has been around for decades, but wasn’t really the focus across all design fields until very recently.

“COVID-19 shone a very bright spotlight on designing for mental health because in the wake of the pandemic, there is a pandemic of mental health, of stress, of anxiety around the world. The built environment can play a very important role in reducing stress and enhancing all those elements of integrative health.”

The paper is scheduled for print in the November issue of the journal Building and Environment.


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.

OSHA announces stand-down on preventing construction worker suicides

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Image from CPWR

OSHA is urging employers in the construction industry to take part in a weeklong safety stand-down to raise awareness about suicide prevention.

Slated for Sept. 6-10, the Suicide Prevention Safety Stand-Down coincides with National Suicide Prevention Month. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study published last year concluded that male construction workers have one of the highest suicide rates when compared with other industries and are at four times greater risk than the general public.

“Work-related stress can have severe impacts on mental health and, without proper support, may lead to substance abuse and even suicide,” Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Jim Frederick said in the release. “Workers in construction face many work-related stressors that may increase their risk factors for suicide, such as the uncertainty of seasonal work, demanding schedules and workplace injuries that are sometimes treated with opioids.”

An OSHA press release highlights a number of the agency’s resources that employers can use during the weeklong event, as well as others produced by construction industry groups. The agency has assembled a task force to help raise awareness on the types of stress that construction workers may face.

OSHA’s regional offices in Kansas City and St. Louis initiated the first stand-down last year in partnership with The Builders’ Association, the Associated General Contractors of Missouri, the University of Iowa, Washington University, the University of Kansas, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, local worker unions and several employers. The event included more than 5,000 participants, the release states.

                                                       

McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Mental illness an ‘unrecognized crisis’ among miners with black lung, study shows

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Charlottesville, VA — Coal miners with black lung disease commonly face various mental health issues, including thoughts of suicide, results of a recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Virginia show.

The researchers examined data from more than 2,800 coal miners who were evaluated for anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder through a voluntary survey at Stone Mountain Health Services, a black lung clinic in Jonesville, VA. The average age of the participants – an overwhelming majority of whom were white males – was 66.

More than 1 out of 3 participants reported symptoms consistent with a major depressive disorder (37.4%) or had clinically significant anxiety (38.9%). Additionally, 26.2% exhibited symptoms of PTSD and 11.4% had considered suicide in the past year. The percentage of suicidal thoughts among all men in Virginia is 2.9.

The researchers note that the percentage “of mental illness far exceeded those documented in coal mining populations internationally.” Miners who need supplemental oxygen to assist with breathing showed accelerated rates of suicidal thoughts (15.9%), anxiety (47.7%) and depression (48.5%).

“This study highlights the unrecognized crisis of mental illness in miners that warrants urgent attention, resources and expanded care,” Drew Harris, lead study author and pulmonary medicine expert at UVA Health, said in a press release, adding that the percentage of “mental illness identified in this large population of U.S. coal miners is shocking. Improved screening and treatment of mental illness in this population is an urgent, unmet need that warrants urgent action.”

Also known as coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, black lung is a deadly but preventable condition. Rates of black lung disease have more than doubled over the past 15 years, says NIOSH, which adds that symptoms may include coughing, excessive phlegm, shortness of breath, labored breathing and chest tightness.

The agency provides free, confidential health screenings through its Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program.

The study was published online May 25 in JAMA Network Open.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

With farmers and ranchers under stress, safety group develops mental health network

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Peosta, IA — In response to a variety of stressors that continue to affect farmers and ranchers during the COVID-19 pandemic, the nonprofit AgriSafe Network has developed a mental health initiative intended to distribute resources and training materials aimed at mitigating stress.

“Farmers and ranchers deal with a lot of uncertainty in a good year,” AgriSafe says. “Add to that current low commodity prices, trade wars, extreme weather and now a pandemic. Coping with the stress of everything happening around us is not easy.”

The Center for the Promotion of Health in the New England Workplace identifies multiple potential signs of work-related stress, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Workplace incidents
  • Workplace violence
  • Anxiety or irritability
  • Alcohol or drug use

“Good health, including mental health, is a key factor that contributes to one’s ability to keep farming,” AgriSafe says.


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.

Is stress making your workers’ minds wander?

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.
The-Mind-at-Work.jpg
Photo: Potential Project

New York — Employees who feel stressed say their minds can wander for up to nearly 60% of the workday by the time Friday rolls around, according to the results of a recent study conducted by a global research, leadership development and consulting firm.

Researchers collaborating with the Potential Project gathered 225,000 data observations on employee focus, resilience and engagement for workers in 44 countries and 15 different industries. Overall, participants reported that their minds wander 37% of the time while on the job. The researchers also found that stress makes workers’ mind wander even more, causing two to three times more inattentiveness.

On average, the participants who were experiencing stress had minds that wandered 59% of the time on Fridays, 55% on Thursdays and 51% on Mondays. By contrast, employees who reported feeling calm at work had minds that wandered 35% of the time on Mondays, and that percentage decreased over the course of workweek to a low of 25 on Fridays.

The researchers identified three key ways workers can limit their minds from wandering:
Daily mind-training practice. Workers who train their mind can direct it to feel more grounded, resilient and present. Results show that those who practiced mindfulness had minds that wandered only 28% of the time, as opposed to 52% for workers who didn’t.
Connecting with others socially. Doing so helped workers limit their wandering minds to 30% of the time, creating more balance and focus. Among workers who chose to be alone, their minds wandered 48% of the time.
A good night’s rest. Seven or more hours of sleep a night can benefit mental and physical health. Quality sleep helped to reduce mind wandering to 35% of the workday, compared with 41% for workers who slept less than six hours.


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.