Construction workers are six times more likely to die from suicide than from an accident at work, according to reports released by MATES in Construction.
According to the Doran reports released by the organisation, suicide and suicidal behavior in the Australian construction industry is costing $1.57 billion dollars each year, as much as 98 per cent of which is born by government, the majority at a federal level, according to reports released today by MATES in Construction (MIC).
“The alarming figures demonstrate the need for greater investment in training construction workers to recognise that a co-worker is unwell, before it’s too late,” MATES in Construction said on their website.
“Construction workers are six times more likely to die from suicide than from an accident at work. Each year 169 construction workers die by suicide, so investing in workers’ mental health is just as important as investing in their physical safety.”
The Doran Reports suggest that suicides and non-fatal suicides can have far-reaching adverse financial effects on the worker’s family, employer and the government, due to production disturbance, human capital, medical, and administrative costs, which can often take years to finalise.
MATES in Construction has trained well over 87,000 construction workers in General Awareness Training to recognise when a mate is struggling.
“MATES in Construction is about taking action together, to fight a problem that is far greater than many would realise. We are an industry-led approach to an industry problem, helping each other to seek help and get better.”
When a worker is left fully incapacitated after a non-fatal suicide, those costs can reach up to $3.27 million, and the costs associated with a fatality can reach up to $2.72 million.
MATES in Construction has set a target of a 15 per cent reduction in the rate of suicide across Australia in the next five years.
“We call on State and Federal Governments to ensure adequate funding for workplace-based suicide prevention activities such as MATES in Construction. An investment in suicide prevention save lives, but it also saves money. More importantly, every suicide prevented means a family gets to keep a father, husband or son – it is surely worth it,” MATES in Construction said.