Building Bridges: Connecting Safety and Mental Health in Construction

Photo of Mary ZImmerman
Mary Zimmerman, DBE Support Services Program Manager

Safety in the construction industry is a #1 priority; however, there is another safety issue that goes beyond physical protection and equipment — the importance of addressing mental health.

Companies should consider a holistic safety program that considers the well-being of workers’ minds, bodies, and spirits. I will be exploring further resources and ideas to support mental health in the workplace to implement positive changes so the construction industry can become safer and more inclusive. I welcome any ideas or resources you may have.

In the meantime, below are three basic strategies for cultivating such a workplace environment:

  1. Start the conversation: Encourage open communication about mental health issues to reduce stigma and promote inclusivity. This can include incorporating mental health training and policies into safety meetings.
  2. Check on your teams: Acknowledging and discussing mental health can improve it. If possible, provide resources for recognizing signs of mental health struggles and initiating supportive conversations with each other.

Simple statements can have a big impact:

  • I haven’t seen you lately. Is everything okay?
  • I know things have been tough – I’m here if you want to talk.
  • It’s been a while, want to grab a cup of coffee?
  1. Create a supportive culture: Build a workplace culture where it’s acceptable to discuss mental health struggles and where active listening and support for professional help are encouraged.

As we prepare for the next construction season, let’s unite to prioritize mental health and create a workplace where every worker feels supported and valued. Together, we can make a significant difference in the construction industry.

For more information, contact Mary Zimmerman at or 515-450-1278.