This month the FMB offered a free online awareness session for construction businesses, this was delivered by Worcestershire County Council Public Health, our speakers were:

  • Louise McEvoy – Advanced Public Health Practitioner
  • Mark Billau  - Associate Public Health Practitioner

Firstly, some statistics provided by the Samaritans. Did you know that:

  • 4912 people took their own lives in 2020
  • The suicide rate in 2020 was 10 per 100,000
  • The highest rate of suicide is found in the age group of 45 to 49 year-olds

Risk factors associated with suicidal thoughts and behaviours are:

  • Feeling isolated
  • Experiencing barriers to gain support
  • Financial stress
  • Physical illness
  • Unwillingness to seek help

But why are the majority of suicides that take place on our industry - why construction?

  1. Low pay and low job security, particularly in relation to contractors and the self-employed
  2. Longer working hours and potential poor working conditions
  3. Workers having access to or knowledge of methods of committing suicide, using equipment or buildings they work with on-site

It’s shocking that poor mental health costs UK employers up to £45 billion each year (Deloitte, 2020), meaning that mental health problems cost £1300 for each employee in the UK economy (Centre for Mental Health).

For every £1 spent by employers on mental health interventions they get £5 back in reduced absence, presenteeism and staff turnover (Deloitte, 2020).

Suicide is the leading cause of death in England in adults below the age of 50.

Mental health support tools

Use a suicide prevention policy

  • Does your business have a procedure for dealing with the suicide of an employee?
  • Would you be confident in dealing with a suicide attempt?
  • Would you know how to secure a site safely on premises following a suicide?
  • Do you know how safely convey news to staff and direct them to support?

The FMB works together with The Lighthouse Club who support construction workers and their families along with Allied workers.

The Lighthouse Club have been around the industry since 1956 in the UK and Ireland, they helped 24400 families in 2021, a 70% increase in complex cases.

They offer free support for companies which can cover various challenges associated with mental health issues including legal support, benefits, employability support and more.

Watch the webinar online

Related topics


Kiren Gill

Kiren Gill

FMB Central Director, Federation of Master Builders