The ECITB has recognised the importance of mental health awareness across engineering construction industry workplaces by committing £350,000 to fund training over the next two years.
Feedback from this year’s survey of ECITB companies and face-to-face engagement with industry employers has shown increased demand for mental health training and highlighted that this is a key area of focus for the sector.
Working with engineering construction employers, the ECITB aims to make supervisors, managers and staff more aware of mental health issues in the workplace and to equip staff with the skills to recognise and deal with mental health problems. Not only will this help improve the lives of workers who suffer from mental illnesses, it will address productivity with lost working days due to conditions like anxiety and depression estimated to cost the UK economy an estimated £105bn each year.
Chris Claydon, Chief Executive of the ECITB, said: “Like roles in many dynamic areas of the UK economy, engineering construction industry jobs can be demanding, high pressured and involve irregular working patterns, all of which can impact on an employee’s mental health.
“In recent years industry has worked tirelessly to eliminate hazards, reduce risks and address the health and safety implications of projects. With the known impact of mental health on an individual’s physical abilities and decision-making, it makes sense that we view mental health and safety with the same importance as physical health and safety.
“Support for this mental health training for industry will not only improve wellbeing of our workforce and the safety of workplaces, but will also have a positive impact on efficiency and productivity.”
The announcement that the ECITB has pledged to fund courses for supervisors and managers provided by charities Mental Health First Aid England and Mind to the tune of £100K of support in 2018 and a further £250K in 2019 has been welcomed by industry.
Dawn James, Vice President for New Nuclear and Generation Services at Wood and ECITB Board member, said: “Since I started in industry 30 years ago I’ve seen a shift in how mental health in the workplace is viewed, with the consensus now that it has both serious human and financial costs. Recent research points to around 400,000 lost working days across the UK each year due to stress, anxiety and depression, so this is clearly a significant issue for industry.
“I’m really pleased the ECITB has recognised the need for greater mental health awareness training for industry and responded to demand from employers to support this important area of training.”
Caroline Hanson, HR Director for Cavendish Nuclear, said: “As part of our forward people strategy, we are fully committed to the all-round wellbeing of our staff which includes both their physical and mental health. We have invested significant effort in developing greater understanding and awareness of mental health and we are starting to see a very positive impact on our employees. This new training support from the ECITB is very welcome.”