According to the Centers for Disease Prevention, construction occupations have the highest rate of suicide, as well as the highest number of suicides across all occupational groups. Over 5,000 people working in construction die by suicide each year. That’s five times more than the annual number of jobsite fatalities.
To address this situation, The Steel Erectors Association of America (SEAA) announced on Oct. 19 that it has joined other industry association stakeholders of the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention (CIASP).
“Within the construction industry, our niche is even more at risk," said Pete Gum, executive director of SEAA, in a statement. "Of the 11 construction occupations cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, structural iron and steel workers are #1 and reinforcing iron and rebar workers are #2 for highest rates of suicide.”
On November 15, SEAA is offering a free webinar on mental health to help employers understand the risk factors, warning signs, and how to integrate suicide prevention training into all levels of an organization. Moderated by Sonya Bohmann, executive director of CIASP, the webinar will feature panelists representing contractors, researchers, and suppliers who are experts on this topic.
Other activities on the topic will include a resource page on its website, feature a speaker at the 2024 Convention and Trade Show April 2-5 in Glendale, Arizona, and prepare an awareness campaign for the 2024 Suicide Awareness Month.
The organization is also encouraging its members to make corporate commitments to the STAND Up Pledge,.
Safe: We pledge to create a culture in which team members feel safe to ask for help if they are having suicidal thoughts or if they are concerned that their fellow co-workers are at risk of suicide.
Training: We pledge to make suicide prevention training available to all team members so that they can recognize the warning signs and be equipped to help those at risk.
Awareness: We pledge to raise awareness by sharing the message of suicide prevention through such organizational activities as trainings, safety meetings, toolbox talks, team meetings, newsletters, and social media posts.
Normalize: We pledge to normalize the topic of suicide prevention as a health and safety priority by talking about suicide, suicide prevention, and mental health.
Decrease: We pledge to help decrease the risk of suicide in construction by ensuring that all team members have access to an awareness of our EAP/MAP, behavioral health benefits, screening tools, community crisis support, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and Crisis Text Line.