According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), construction has the highest suicide rate (53.2/100,000) across all industries. The suicide rate in construction is about four times greater than the national average (17.3/100,000) and five times greater than that of all other construction fatalities combined (10.1/100,000).
In fact, more lives are lost per day from suicide than from all of OSHA’s Fatal Four Hazards combined.
Why Does Construction Have the Highest Suicide Rate?
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the rate of suicide is highest in middle-aged white men. And, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 97% of the U.S. construction workforce is male and 56.9% is Caucasian. Also, more than 63% of construction workers are between the ages of 35 and 64.
The Nature of the Work/Work Culture:
- Stoic, “old school,” and “tough guy” culture
- Fearlessness and “thrill-seeking”
- Promotion of supervision without leadership training
- Family separation and isolation with travel
- Sleep disruption/deprivation due to shift work
- Seasonal layoffs and end-of-project furloughs
- Tolerant culture of alcohol and substance use
- Chronic pain
- Industry with highest use of prescription opioids
- Performance pressure (schedule, budget, and quality)
- Access to lethal means
Veterans in Construction
With their mission-oriented mindsets, many Veterans often choose construction as a career. On average, 16.8 Veterans die by suicide each day, making the suicide rate for Veterans 1.5 times greater than non-Veteran adults.
Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention
The Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention (CIASP) encourages the entire industry to STAND up for suicide prevention and address it as a health and safety priority by creating safe cultures, providing training to identify and help those at risk, raising awareness about the suicide crisis in construction, normalizing conversations around suicide and mental health, and ultimately decreasing the risks associated with suicide in construction.
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