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Construction industry has highest suicide rate, according to CDC

September 13, 2022  By  Don Horne

September is Suicide Prevention Month, and Construction Safety Nova Scotia is urging its members to focus on mental health on the job site.

“Mental health and psychological safety is just as important as physical safety on the job site,” said MJ MacDonald, CEO of Construction Safety Nova Scotia. “We want to shine a light on Suicide Prevention Month and make sure our members know it’s important to look for signs in your workers. But you’re not in this alone – there’s many resources available for how you can support them if they are at risk.”

Listen to this podcast on the opioid crisis and how that is contributing to suicide and death within the construction industry.

MacDonald points out that construction workers have a 65 percent higher suicide rate than workers in all other sectors, according to a recent report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


Construction Safety Nova Scotia has several resources available on its website to support construction sector employers broach the difficult topic of suicide in the workplace:

  • Four toolbox talks on warning signs, how to talk about suicide, the risk of suicide in construction, and making mental health a priority
  • Suicide prevention posters
  • Needs analysis and implementation tool

According to the CDC report, a high-pressure work environment, working in remote locations, and a “tough guy” mentality all contribute to high suicide rates in the construction sector. To that end, mental health in general needs to be a focus for construction sector employers.

“There’s much to be done to get workers comfortable speaking up about mental health, but take a slow and steady approach: Discuss it during toolbox talks, show some mental health videos, and don’t be afraid to mention your own mental state if you’re having a difficult day yourself,” said MacDonald.

CSNS has resources specifically for employers and employees on its website, as well as many mental health videos.

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