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Building Resilience: Strategies for Enhancing Mental Health and Safety in Construction

Jan. 5, 2024
By giving your staff the tools to thrive, you’re likely to see a boost in worker satisfaction and retention.

Mental health and safety are being increasingly recognized as vital focus points for leaders in the construction industry. Firstly, there’s a clear duty of care involved if employees and members of your staff experience psychological and emotional pressures on the job. Mental unwellness can also seriously disrupt projects.

This is why it’s so important to help your workers to build mental resilience. By giving your staff the tools to thrive, you’re likely to see a boost in worker satisfaction and retention. Not to mention that it helps build the kind of culture of safety that positively impacts your business’ success.

Let’s look at how to approach this practically. What strategies should you use to enhance mental health and safety?

Maintain and Communicate Safety Protocols

Enhancing mental health and safety doesn’t just require your business to focus on the psychological or emotional components. When applied on their own, they can come across as superficial and may not have a long-term impact. As with so much in life, it’s better to start by creating a strong foundation to build the mental wellness elements on.

In this case, adopting a solid set of construction health and safety protocols provides a secure environment and shows you’re prioritizing wellness. A couple of the key elements of these protocols include:

Responsible parties: Your health and safety protocols should outline that everyone has a role to play in maintaining wellness. However, it should also highlight specific members of staff who are responsible for different aspects of health and safety, including mental health. This gives workers clarity on who to contact in the event of concerns and issues.

Training processes: Solid staff training is key to safe functioning on a construction site. Your protocols must outline the types of education required for each role, how this is delivered, and how frequently they should occur. It’s also wise to include training on maintaining health matters, including coping mechanisms for mental wellness.

From here you need to communicate your protocols to your workers. Produce clear documentation, perhaps hosted on the cloud so your staff has access to it wherever they are. Work with leadership to ensure discussions about these protocols are part of everyday working practices. This sets a great forum for conversations about mental health to take place.

Adopt Burnout Prevention Measures

Alongside the more general measures, it’s important to look at the specific challenges of mental health in construction. One of the most prevalent of these is burnout. 

When staff are subject to relentless workplace stress and excessive demands, they’re likely to experience emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion. This could result in both acute symptoms and the more serious long-term effects of burnout. Alongside mood swings and loss of motivation, workers might wind up living with gastrointestinal distress and high blood pressure, among other conditions.

This is not just problematic because it affects workers’ quality of life and workplace engagement. In construction, their experiences of burnout-related fatigue could put themselves and colleagues at risk of injury.

So, how can you boost resilience in the face of burnout in construction? Some of the actions you take could include:

Promote work-life balance: Spending too much of their life at work, particularly with overtime under crunch conditions, can contribute to staff members’ burnout. Make it a point of policy to promote a healthy work-life balance. Aim to assert hard boundaries on maximum working hours. Perhaps offer flexible scheduling options if it’s practical.

Maintain open communication: It’s vital to make certain that your staff feel comfortable about raising concerns about working conditions that contribute to burnout. Make it clear that there are no consequences to staff who want to express that they feel performance expectations are too high. Use this as an opportunity to find solutions together.

Wherever possible, make avoiding burnout a mutual responsibility. When staff recognize the signs of burnout, this enables them to be more vigilant of these in themselves and their colleagues.

Provide a Range of Mental Health Resources

Mental resilience is not something that only occurs within workers’ own minds. They need practical assistance to truly build the fortitude that helps them thrive. Consider creating wellness programs that give workers a range of resources that are relevant to maintaining their mental health.

These could include:

Mindfulness and meditation applications: Taking a few minutes each day to center oneself and focus on the present is a powerful psychological and emotional tool. However, this might not always be practical in noisy and bustling construction environments. Providing staff with mobile apps so they can take a break, put on headphones, and receive audio guidance may help them maintain regular wellness routines.

Peer allies: Colleagues can be invaluable sources of mental health support. They understand the nuanced pressures of the construction industry and how this affects mental and emotional wellness. Initiating a formal peery ally program can bolster this by highlighting dedicated colleagues for conversations and support. You’ll need to give these workers training on how to provide psychological support and direct colleagues to other resources.

It’s also essential to be open to your staff’s suggestions here. They’ll have insights into the types of challenges they face on a daily basis and what resources are likely to be useful to them. Create channels for suggestions and be transparent about assessing and implementing these.


Boosting psychological resilience among your workforce benefits everybody involved. Commit to adopting strategies that tackle both the specific mental challenges of construction and are consistent with wider safety protocols. Perhaps the most important thing to consider, though, is encouraging workers to genuinely engage with mental wellness programs. Empower them to not just be beneficiaries of services, but also influencers of them. You’re likely to see a greater cultural impact that’s positive for everyone involved.

Sam Bowman writes about people, tech, workers, and how they merge. He enjoys getting to utilize the internet for the community without actually having to leave his house. In his spare time, he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.


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