When success matters more than financials

when its about saving lives

Stress in a construction worker
Tim Routledge - Science Director Biostress

Tim Routledge

Chief Science Officer

Introduction

We focus a lot on measuring improvement in health and productivity, and we are proud of the results we achieve – reducing time in high stress, improving sleep, and increasing staff retention and sales. But sometimes individual results are more important than the numbers, they are about people’s lives.

Construction is a sector where stress and suicide are tangible issues with some of the worst rates of mental ill-health of any industry. Construction workers in the US, for example, are five times more likely to die from suicide than all other causes combined. We have been working with a large construction company in the UK to objectively measure stress, resilience and sleep and help construction workers to understand and open up about their health and well-being.

One such worker was Dimitri (we’ve changed his name to protect his identity). When we sat down with Dimitri in a 1-2-1 in-person feedback session he initially claimed that he was ‘never stressed’. After looking through his data and having a conversation about how work and home life can affect our mental resilience, Dimitri opened up about some issues he’d been having.

It quickly became apparent that Dimitri needed further urgent support as issues with his current private life had resurfaced memories of childhood trauma and led him to question what his life was for and whether it was worthwhile. We encouraged Dimitri to access the company EAP’s confidential mental health support line but he was reluctant, not being convinced it wouldn’t somehow get back to his manager and he would lose his job. We, therefore, directed him to a specific independent charity set up to address mental health issues in the construction industry, where he received immediate support and was referred to a CBT programme.

We stayed in touch with Dimitri and he also took part in our Improve sleep programme which helped him with both his sleep duration and quality and bolstered his physical resilience. To date, his progress has been significant, with his data showing improvements and his ongoing direct mental health support helping him cope with his challenging situation and identify hope for his future.