Key Findings and Recommendations
CITB has recently published a report on Mental Health, which highlights the main causes of the conditions to worsen as well as establishes a number of recommendations for the wider insdustry. Below you can read the main findings as well as NAS’ response in the subject.
The CITB report reads:
– The construction industry has a poor record on mental health and the pandemic has shone an even brighter light on it. Physical health and safety are given significant priority in the construction industry however, given that suicide often kills more people than falls from height, there is a need for steps to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and improve the support available to workers.
[…] There is a prevalence of poor mental health within the construction industry. Between 2011 and 2015, of the 13,232 in-work suicides recorded 1,419 were within the skilled construction and building trades, despite construction accounting for little over 7% of the UK workforce.
Physical health and safety are given significant priority in the construction industry however given that suicide often kills more people than falls from height, there is a need for steps to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and improve the support available to workers.
The literature review and the stakeholder consultations highlight several factors that increase the risk of poor mental health for construction employees, namely:
- Working away from home / frequent travelling
- Occupational stressors
- Heavy workloads and long working hours
- Job insecurity
The onset of Covid-19 has had a mixed impact on the industry and the results are as yet still unknown. For example, many will have felt uncertainty regarding the security of their jobs as well as a loss of structure and routine, all of which are crucial for psychological wellbeing. However, due to Covid-19 and construction work being instructed to continue, the industry has seen greater time spent on planning work tasks, fewer workers on-site and improved housekeeping; leading to increased productivity and reduced health and safety risk, which in turn can reduce stress and anxiety. In addition, changes to induction processes and welfare and hygiene arrangements have the potential to improve safety, wellbeing and motivation for the workforce if maintained in the longer term.
Buy in and engagement from large organisations in the construction industry is key to having an impact. We recommend that industry leaders engage with the other organisations already working in this area to
agree the best way to deliver an integrated support service. A working group with key industry stakeholders should be established to agree how best to utilise existing work within the sector, in particular by Mates in Mind (Maturity Matrix), Safer Highways (Thriving at Work surveys); and the Lighthouse Club (Construction Workforce Health and Wellbeing dashboard).
Develop a mental health and wellbeing dashboard in collaboration with the working group above and established organisations already operating in this space. This should build on work already underway, for example the interactive dashboard in development by the Lighthouse Club (in conjunction with Caledonian University) that will cover construction in UK and Ireland.
Develop and make available to construction companies a risk / maturity matrix to measure mental health and wellbeing at an organisational level and highlight areas for further development.
Data on the effectiveness of existing supports is very limited and focused mainly on measuring uptake levels. Therefore, we recommend that evaluations are completed for key schemes to assess effectiveness. Key measures and associated tools are set out in the table above.
- NAS offers the members a 24/7 confidential helpline, which provides first point of contact for those with mental health concerns or issues.
- In 2021 we supported the Mental Health Awareness Week, focussing on promoting the relevant organisations which succesfully operate in the field.
- NAS adopted and commits to the principles of the Building Mental Health Charter.
- NAS offers preferential rates on Mental Health related training. Read more about our training offer and available support.
- CITB Levy Registered Employers can access Training Grants for the mental heath courses. Find out more.