Men in the construction industry account for the majority of suicides in the workforce. The social pressures on men to suppress their feelings encourage workers to suffer in silence. A webinar hosted by Caterpillar Inc., “Mental Health on the Jobsite,” explains that the tough-guy mentality that exists in the industry and the ideals of self-sufficiency that draw people to this type of work are the same personality traits that create a high-risk culture where people are unable or unwilling to seek treatment for mental health conditions. In addition, veterans are often drawn to the construction field, some of who may be suffering from trauma experienced during their service.

In general, the construction industry can have volatile working conditions, like long hours, which can cause physical and mental fatigue, and constant job relocation can result in poor connections to family and friends, causing feelings of isolation. Also, the physical demands and feelings of isolation on the job can lead to self-medication through alcohol, drugs or opioids, which increases the likelihood of suicide.

Furthermore, during the height of COVID-19, layoffs and seasonal work increased while the industry balanced itself between health and economic security. The added stress of unemployment creates an unprecedented amount of insecurity that can affect emotional and mental health.

Importance of Mental Health on the Jobsite

Mentally healthy workers are important for a construction jobsite because it reinforces the safety and well-being of a crew. A happy and healthy workforce is a more productive workforce. Some of the key signs of mental distress are lethargy, lack of motivation, difficulty concentrating or absenteeism, which hinder productivity and safety. By advocating for mental health and wellness on the jobsite, crew members are more likely to feel supported and stay in the workforce, encouraging others to look into the construction industry as a career option.

Understanding Mental Health

Mental health is an ongoing balancing act and does not always have to be related to illness. Negative mental health can be due to personal loss, financial issues, relationship problems, etc. and can affect a person’s mental well-being and ability to concentrate. Risky environments, operating dangerous heavy equipment, distractions or an inability to focus puts workers and the public at risk.

Creating environments where people feel comfortable sharing what is happening their lives can empower fellow coworkers to check in on their crewmates, therefore building a safer workspace for themselves and others.

Management as an Advocate for Change

Management has a responsibility for the overall well-being of its employees. Encouraging everyone to be aware of their surroundings and environments is a foundational step to creating a sense of belonging and community. In the construction industry, shifting the culture from one of discipline to one with consideration for employee mental health and well-being can be a key area to help push workers toward seeking help. Leaders should learn and know the warning signs of suicide and make it a part an integral part of their supervision process. By listening, showing compassion and empathy, and being prepared to offer resources, leaders and employees can support each other to prevent suicide and seek help.

List of What to Watch for on a Jobsite:

What people are saying

What people are doing

What’s going on in their lives


By: RK Steel

The West Lot is a 13-story residential project with Hensel Phelps Construction.

By: RK Steel

The West Lot Office is a 13-story project with Hensel Phelps Construction.

By: RK Steel

The West Lot Hotel is a 13-story project with Hensel Phelps Construction.

By: RK Steel

The CSM Parking Garage is a three-story classroom building and parking structure that consists of stairs, canopies, architectural screens, facade elements and vantilevered overhang WTs.This project was completed by RK Steel in 2019, and was valued at over $2M.

By: RK Steel

The Monarch Hotel and Casino is a 630,792 square foot, 23-story project in Black Hawk, Colorado. The space accommodates gaming on the second level with a 24-hour restaurant, high limit game play and a bar. Level three includes nearly 37,000 square feet of restaurant and dining space with a buffet, steak house, and VIP bar. The hotel includes 516 guest rooms and suites, some with steam showers and jacuzzi tubs. The 23rd floor houses the pool and spa. This level includes an indoor pool as well as indoor and outdoor hot tubs, an aqua lounge, brine therapy rooms and pedicure rooms.

By: RK Steel

The Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine and Behavioral Health is a new facility located on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colorado. This approximately 390,000 square foot, 8-story building is located on the West side of the existing Research Complex 2 (RC2) building. The project includes a linking walkway to the existing RC2 building on the second floor of both buildings, and an approximately 22 foot deep basement under a portion of the building, which will be designed as a shell space for a future Vivarium. This basement will be connected to the Vivarium in the basement of the existing RC2 building with  two below grade tunnels.

By: RK Energy

In May of 2020, RK Energy partnered with Puro lighting to engineer a more economical and ergonomic UV light stand. RK Energy designed, engineered and fabricated from the ground up the current UV light stand Puro Lighting now markets and uses worldwide.

By: RK Energy

In June 2020, RK Energy LLC. was successful in forging a partnership with Vestas Wind Systems A/S. Vestas had reengineered and upgraded their wind turbine transmissions and in doing so increased the size and weight of the transmission itself. This created a problem with the thousands of already manufactured transmission transport skids that Vestas had in operation, as the new transmissions would not fit on these skids. In partnership with RK Energy, Vestas engineered a solution to modify its current fleet of transportation skids reducing the cost and fabrication time of building new skids. RK Energy used advanced engineering, preconstruction services, CAD modeling and precision planning that streamlined the fabrication process to meet the intense scheduled deadlines Vestas needed to maintain their logistics schedule. RK Energy was on time, every time.

By: RK Energy

In October 2019, RK Energy partnered with BNN Tallgrass to design, engineer and fabricate another saltwater disposal building in North Dakota. This building was one of many skidded solutions the RK Energy team partnered with BNN Tallgrass to provide custom solutions for field support services. This massive building was over 750 sqft, containing a 180 sqft electrical control room an 800-horse power 27 stage injection pump along with state-of-the-art controls and safety devices.