Jan 9, 2023

Mental Health & Contractor Safety

Key Takeaways:

  • Mental health in the workplace is just as important as physical health.
  • The state of mental well being of your workforce dicates the levels of safety and compliance.
  • Employers must play an active role in safeguarding workers’ wellbeing.
  • Hiring organizations must dismantle the stigma associated with mental health in order to progress toward a safer and more proactive workplace.

Mental health is an important factor in contractor safety. Conducting labor in any industry can be physically demanding and emotionally draining, and it is essential that workers have the necessary support and resources to cope with the stress. This includes making sure that workers have access to mental health resources such as counseling, support groups and therapy. It is also important to encourage an open and supportive environment where workers can talk about their concerns without fear of judgment or any repercussions to the status or nature of their employment. Employers should also be aware of any signs of mental distress in their workers in order to provide them with the necessary help and guidance. Finally, it is important to ensure that workers have regular breaks throughout the day and enough time off to take care of their mental health. Furthermore, company leaders as a whole should make it a priority to establish good work-life balance for their workers in an effort to not overwork them to the point of mental and physical exhaustion. Taking steps to promote mental health in the workplace will ensure an increased company morale, more cohesive safety culture, and in turn drive down the rates of unnecessary workplace incidents. In this blog post, we’ll discuss what hiring organizations and safety professionals can do to ensure that the mental wellbeing of their workforce is upheld, safeguarded, and efficiently addressed.

Understand: 

Mental health and contractor safety are closely linked. Ensuring the safety of contractors who are working in hazardous or stressful conditions requires an understanding of the potential mental health issues they may be facing. Contractors may experience anxiety, depression or other mental health issues due to their work or personal circumstances, which can lead to increased risk of accidents or injuries. Due to the stigmas that surround conversations about mental health, it is not uncommon to find workplaces that do not truly understand the breadth of effects that mental wellbeing has on a workplace. The first step in addressing these issues in your organization is to take the time to understand mental health. In doing so, you must learn about mental wellbeing as a whole, as well as your organization’s specific circumstances. If you’re new to tackling mental health in the workplace, here are a few helpful tips to get you started:

  • Struggles with mental health can be experienced by anyone, at any stage of their life.
  • Many people are able to mask their symptoms.
  • Everyones’ state of mental wellbeing differs from one another.
  • People experience different levels and stages of mental distress.
  • Some people are not comfortable expressing their thoughts on mental health in the workplace.

Making the effort to understand your workers is a great tool to use in dismantling the stigma around these conversations. It helps eliminate preconceived notions of mental illness and make room for a reformed school of thought that puts an emphasis on wellness for all.

Identify:

Just as you would identify pain points, weakness, and shortcomings within your business. It is your responsibility to identify mental struggles in the workplace, as well as what your role is in addressing them. You should do so in a manner that does not infringe on your workers’ comfort and privacy, but still is proactive in creating a safe environment for those who struggle with their mental health. To begin identifying, start here:

  1. Identify what in the workplace could provoke mental distress (i.e work-life balance, repeated violations, hazards, etc).
  2. Identify the overall state of mental wellbeing within your workforce to spot areas for improvement.
  3. Identify ways that you and your team can support your workforce and provide them with helpful resources to overcome their burdens.

Manage:

Understanding and identifying mental health in the workplace doesn't make any impact unless you have a management plan to follow through with. This plan ensures that mental health becomes a priority for businesses, and that internal teams that are in charge of safety supervision have measurable ways to improve the wellbeing of their workforce. Doing so will indirectly help your company achieve its compliance goals by ensuring that your workforce is happier, more attentive to their tasks, and achieve more overall productivity. The question remains, how do you manage mental health in the workplace?

  • Afford acceptance and accessibility to workers:
  • Your workers should feel accepted at work regardless of their mental status, and all facets of their work should remain accessible to them, especially in times of need.
  • Provide your workforce with tools and resources:
  • Implement plans to assist workers’ mental health:
  • Once you’ve provided your workforce with an open and safe space equipped with the necessary tools to tackle their greatest challenges, ensure that you actually act upon what you have planned by making sure that your workforce feels heard, protected and valued, regardless of their circumstances.

Closing Remarks:

Mental health and contractor safety are important issues that need to be addressed in the workplace at all levels. Working as a contractor can often be a stressful job, and without proper mental health support systems in place, workers can become overwhelmed and burned out. As repeatedly stated, the combination of poor mental health and high pressure situations is a combination that assures that a workplace incident is on the way. It is essential for employers to recognize the signs of mental health issues and provide support for workers who need it. As the employer, it is your duty to identify, understand, and manage workers to ensure they're doing OK.

About the Author

Addison Moore
Director of Marketing at Contractor Compliance

Addison has spent the last four years learning from and participating in the Health & Safety community. He has travelled to numerous EHS conferences, trade shows and events with the intention of helping organizations with their contractor management programs. Addison is also responsible for curating the collection of white papers, case studies and eBooks that provide real world insights into the workforce safety space.

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