US Department of Labor, industry leaders, stakeholders call on employers, workers to combat surge in construction worker suicides

First published by OSHA

Safety stand-downs planned for Suicide Prevention Week, Sept. 5-9

WASHINGTON – Construction workers often face some of their industry’s most serious dangers – such as falls from elevation, being struck or crushed by equipment or other objects, and electrocution – but recent studies suggest another occupational concern is lurking silently at U.S. worksites: worker suicides.

Box with text that reads 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline
The 988 Suicide &; Crisis Lifeline is a direct connection – available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – to a national network of more than 200 local crisis centers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the suicide rate for men in construction and extraction was five times greater than the rate of all other work-related fatalities in the industry in 2018, and these workers are four times more likely to end their own lives than people in the general population.

To assist workers in an industry with one of the nation’s highest occupational suicide rates, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has joined a task force of construction industry partners, unions and educators to raise awareness of the work stresses seen as the causes of depression and the thoughts and acts of suicide among construction workers. In addition to alerting other stakeholders, the task force encourages industry employers to share and discuss available resources with their workers.

Coinciding with Construction Suicide Prevention Week, the task force is calling on construction industry employers, trade groups and other stakeholders to join OSHA’s Suicide Prevention Safety Stand-Down, Sept. 5-9, 2022. This week-long event seeks to raise awareness of unique mental health challenges construction workers face by asking employers to pause work for a moment to share information and resources and urge employees to seek help if needed.

“Construction workers cope with unique causes of stress, such as uncertain seasonal work; remote work and job travel that keeps workers away from home and support systems; long, hard days and completion schedules; and the job-related risks of serious injuries,” explained Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker. “Left unchecked, these stressors can affect mental health severely and lead to anxiety, depression, substance abuse and – in some cases – suicide.”

The coronavirus outbreak and pandemic only worsened the problem, researchers found. In August 2020, the CDC reported a considerable one-year increase in symptoms of anxiety disorder and depressive disorder in a survey of the U.S. population.

Moved by their concern for a growing problem, a group of industry volunteers joined in 2020 to launch the first Suicide Prevention Week for construction workers. In 2021, more than 68,000 workers in 43 states registered to participate in Construction Suicide Prevention Week, managed by a task force comprised of OSHA, Associated General Contractors, The Builders Association, leading construction companies and labor unions.

“Suicide can be prevented with professional help and assistance,” Parker added. “OSHA encourages employers, industry associations, labor organizations and workers to use all available resources to understand the problem and the warning signs of depression before tragedy strikes.”

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a federally funded project designed to improve crisis services and advance suicide prevention for U.S. residents. Supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the  988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, formerly the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the 998 lifeline is a national network of more than 200 local crisis centers, combining custom local care and resources with national standards and best practices.

Review these OSHA mental health and crisis resources.


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.

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.

Suicide Prevention Legislation is now LAW!

First published by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

On Saturday, October 17, after passing unanimously out of Congress, the President of the United States signed the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act (S.2661) into law. This historic legislation will support the full implementation of the three-digit “9-8-8” dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline through funding guidance, federal reporting, and specialized services for at-risk communities like LGBTQ-youth and Veterans. A well-resourced, easy-to-remember 988 crisis hotline will increase access to necessary resources and support in times of crisis that will save lives.

This is a major victory for the suicide prevention movement. Of the nearly 20,000 bills introduced in a Congressional session, less than 1,000 are ever passed by Congress and signed into law.

AFSP Field Advocates have supported this effort over the past 3 years by emailing, calling, and meeting with their Members of Congress and writing media outlets across the country. It is through these efforts that we have seen real change to bring our country’s mental health system into the 21st century with the full passage of the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act. We thank all of our advocates that have shared their stories and advocated for this landmark legislation.

THANK YOU and CONGRATULATIONS!

There is still much more work to be done as we continue to advocate for a world without suicide. But through our joint efforts and your ceaseless passion we will save lives and bring hope to people effected by suicide. You can see AFSP’s official press release here.

 

Please note that the 9-8-8 crisis hotline will not be nationally available until July 2022. Callers should continue to access the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline through 1-800-273-8255 until 9-8-8 is fully operational


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.

Suicide prevention advocates release workplace guidelines, call on employers to act

Hierarchy-of-Controls.jpg

Photo: The National Guidelines for Workplace Suicide Prevention

Washington — A trio of advocacy groups is calling on employers to take a proactive role in suicide prevention in the workplace, and has published a new set of guidelines.

The National Guidelines for Workplace Suicide Prevention were developed by the American Association of Suicidology, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and United Suicide Survivors International – with input from experts in human resources, employment law and employee assistance; labor and safety leaders; and workers who have experienced a suicide crisis on the job.

In 2018, the groups conducted an online survey of 256 people from 41 states and found that 46% of the respondents said they knew at least one friend, co-worker or family member who had attempted suicide, while 43% reported having lost at least one friend to suicide. Additionally, a 2018 analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that suicides among the U.S. working age population rose 34% from 2000 to 2016.

According to the groups, the guidelines – part of an 88-page report – are applicable to small and large employers in all industries and throughout the public and private sectors. They:

  • Give employers and professional associations an opportunity to pledge to engage in the suicide prevention effort. To sign the pledge, go to WorkplaceSuicidePrevention.com.
  • Demonstrate an implementation structure for workplace best practices in a comprehensive, public health approach.
  • Provide data and resources to advance the cause of workplace suicide prevention.
  • Bring together diverse stakeholders in a collaborative public-private model.
  • Make recommendations for easily deployed tools, trainings, and resources for short-term action and comprehensive and sustained energy.

“We aim to change the culture of workplaces to reduce elements that cause job strain like sleep disruption, job insecurity and low job control – things shown to be connected to suicide risk,” AAS Executive Director Colleen Creighton said in a press release. “We know these guidelines will not only save lives, but will also alleviate intense emotional suffering by making changes to systems while helping individuals in the workplace.”

Suicide in the Construction Industry: Breaking the Stigma and Silence

A suicide occurs every 12 minutes in the U.S. While these incidents touch every industry, one industry in particular has felt the impact of suicide in recent years – construction and extraction. A CDC study found that in 2012 and 2015, suicide rates were highest among males in the construction and extraction occupational group. Continue reading»