The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its checklist for construction employers during the COVID-19 pandemic and asked contractors to consider the mental health and well-being of their workers.
The CDC’s checklist encourages employers to talk openly with employees about how the pandemic is affecting work; communicate clear expectations; anticipate behavior changes in employees, such as irritation, anger, increased sadness or difficulty concentrating; and ensure there is a system in place to identify and provide mental health services to employees in need of support
The CDC noted the pandemic has negatively affected employee mental health for several reasons, including having concerns about the risk of being exposed to the virus; conflict at home; lack of relaxation time; uncertainty about the future; and adapting to a changing work schedule.
Greg Sizemore, chair of the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention, says construction safety is frequently a top concern for contractors, and mental health should continue to play a large part in that.
“It is our responsibility to ensure not just a safe worksite but a healthy worksite,” Sizemore says. “And I say that in light of COVID-19 and the impact 2020 has had and will continue to have.”
Sizemore suggests contractors visit the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention website, preventconstructionsuicide.com, for more information.