Improving construction safety means every company must commit to higher safety standards on and off sites. The positive results of this effort won’t just improve each firm’s reputation or revenue — it will also benefit the mental health of every worker keeping the industry going. These are a few ways job sites could become safer and how they support each employee’s mental health.

What Is the State of Construction Industry Safety?

Heavy machinery, dangerous tools and changing workplace conditions make construction jobs riskier. The industry has the second-highest suicide rate of all U.S. industries. It’s also responsible for one in five workplace deaths and 46.2% of workplace injuries.

Those statistics are too high for current and future workers to feel less at risk on the job. Management teams and construction business owners can improve their safety efforts to reduce the risk of accidents or deaths.

Are Safety and Mental Health Connected?

People may understand the physical risk of working on construction sites, but the resulting stress and anxiety eventually affect staff. Industry workers outlined their concerns in a recent study, which included:

  • Workplace safety culture
  • Ineffective safety equipment
  • Long work hours
  • Intense workload
  • Existing or developing physical pain
  • Low social support

When people feel continually unsafe, they develop long-term psychological distress that intensifies conditions like anxiety and depression. If they don’t quit their jobs, the emotional turbulence increases the risk of accidents or deaths due to a lack of focus or exhaustion.

Ways to Improve Construction Safety on Any Site

Construction industry leaders can improve their team’s mental health by demonstrating their commitment to improving everyone’s safety. These are a few efforts that could put workers at ease and ultimately strengthen their mental well-being.

1. Review Site-Specific Safety Plans

General safety plans are helpful to any brand, but construction teams need site-specific instruction to ensure their safety whenever they start a new project. Review the new plan when a project begins and update it as the site develops. Team leaders can account for things like building on newly finished high-rise floors or operating bigger equipment.

Remember to include finer details people may overlook that lead to accidents. Site plans could consist of project maps in addition to:

  • Existing hazards
  • Tips to avoid operating machinery incorrectly
  • Safety reminders like wearing sunscreen and hardhats

Remind team members who they can contact if they have safety-related concerns or questions. If they understand how to stay safe and who’s around to help them, their anxiety about experiencing potential harm will decrease.

2. Provide Smart Site Clothing

Smart clothing is one of the latest advancements that improves construction safety for crews of all sizes. Smart chips on hard hats and clothing monitor for carbon monoxide when ventilation is insufficient. They can even alert supervisors when a worker crosses a programmed geofence around off-limit areas. Instantaneous alerts ensure everyone stays safe without communication delays, further putting team members at ease.

3. Install Reliable Forms of Communication

On-site communication is vital to everyone’s safety. If employees lack personal phones throughout the day, maintain a charged radio to contact the team leader when they’re not physically present.

Construction businesses can also provide company phones. The financial investment demonstrates a commitment to everyone’s safety, especially if the phones automatically have each supervisor’s contact information saved. Team members might feel the inherent risk of working in construction is more acceptable because their supervisors care about them, decreasing their stress.

4. Enact Improved Financial Protections

People who own construction firms already have insurance plans in case an employee gets injured, but staff may not have the same reassurance if they’re on limited health insurance. Leaders can reduce their anxiety about potential medical bills by explaining which resources they’ve set aside to help them financially.

Workers’ compensation plans should match the potential risk team members take every day. A plan providing only half of their daily income for a short period won’t help when they have to pay monthly bills and medical fees. Finances already negatively affect the mental health of 52% of Americans without surprise injuries requiring medical care. Company owners can reduce that worry by providing ample financial coverage in case of emergencies through extensive insurance plans.

5. Make Equipment Inspections a Priority

Equipment inspections occur before a site needs large machinery and should continue throughout a project. Each team member should know when the inspections happen and potentially play a part in ensuring construction safety on any site.

Team leaders could also post the results of each daily inspection where people can see them, like a clipboard hanging over a shared water cooler. When employees arrive for their shifts, they’ll instantly know they’re working with equipment that’s as safe as possible.

These steps also demonstrate how much the organization cares for its employees. Each crew member will feel personally valued if they’re part of the safety process and can access the results. They’ll feel less anxious when operating equipment because they know the likelihood of an accident is lower than before the inspection.

6. Demonstrate Leadership Accountability

Some people will try to cut corners on construction safety regulations because they take time away from the day’s work. If staff can’t report safety compromises and see those people held accountable, they won’t trust that any recent improvements will mean anything for their well-being.

Accountability is crucial in making people feel physically safe and mentally at ease. The standards protecting everyone will remain in place if everyone knows there are consequences for not upholding them. They’ll also instinctively know the site is safe without actively checking up on who did which inspection before their arrival. Everyone does their part, leading to less anxiety and a smoother workflow.

Get Employee Feedback Regularly

By getting employee feedback, firm owners or leaders will know if their safety improvements are working and improving everyone’s mental health. Check in with them regularly by starting conversations and sending surveys for anonymous feedback. Their honesty will guide the next advancements everyone takes to feel more comfortable in their roles.

Improve Construction Safety Today

Any construction business can improve its team’s mental health by focusing on safety. These ideas will jumpstart the process and inspire everyone to find other creative solutions. As each effort becomes a new standard, team members will feel protected and experience less distress.