Stress is ‘forgotten’ health and safety issue in industry

Industry still has a long way to go to tackle mental health issues in the workplace

CIBSE Journal July 2016 news stree

The Samaritans is helping a group of building services bodies, including the CIBSE Patrons, to tackle growing problems of workplace stress and depression.

The Patrons – along with the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) and the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) – are hosting a seminar on 21 July, in Westminster, London, to dig more deeply into an issue that is of growing concern to employers.

BESA chief executive Paul McLaughlin, who will chair the event, said 80% of engineering services firms believe workplace mental health will have a serious impact on their businesses in the next five to 10 years. This worrying statistic emerged from an occupational health survey carried out by BESA and the ECA, which also revealed that 31% of companies found on-site mental health issues ‘hard to manage’.

The Samaritans said callers to its helplines ranged from tradespeople to senior managers feeling the isolation of leadership. Many small and medium-sized businesses are also struggling to cope with stress created by tight deadlines and cashflow issues, which can lead to feelings of depression, it added.

CIBSE Patrons chair David Fitzpatrick said: ‘For an industry that already has serious recruitment issues, tackling mental health has to be a priority.’ McLaughlin added: ‘Mental health is the forgotten health and safety issue.’

For details of the seminar, which is free for CIBSE Patrons and ECA and BESA members, email