While often overlooked, mental health is a crucial factor that affects the safety of contractors in the workplace. Contractors commonly work in environments that require physical and mental agility, but struggles with mental health challenges can impact a contractor’s ability to perform their duties safely and effectively. This article explores how mental health affects contractor safety in the workplace and provide some tips for contractors to safeguard their mental wellbeing while at work, as well as actionable plans for employers to deploy worker-centric solutions to create a safe and welcoming workplace.
The mental state of your workforce can have a profound effect on safety. Challenges pertaining to mental health, such as depression and anxiety, can impair a contractor’s ability to focus and perform their job duties. Mental health issues can also impact a contractor’s physical wellbeing, leading to fatigue, decreased motor skills, and slower reaction times.
Moreover, the stigma surrounding mental health can prevent workers from seeking help when they need it. This can lead to a cycle of negative feelings and behaviors, further worsening your workforce’s mental health and potentially increasing risk.
Mental health issues can also lead to increased risk-taking behavior and a general lack of regard to established safety protocols. For instance, a contractor experiencing anxiety may try to rush through a job to finish faster, leading to mistakes and accidents along the way. Depression can cause contractors to lose focus, leading to unsafe practices and accidents. These are a few of the many examples of how mental distress can deter safety, however, everyone’s experience with mental health is unique to themselves and should be treated on an individual basis.
It is important to first acknowledge the influence that mental health has on physical safety and how it can negatively impact your workplace. This includes learning where mental health challenges stem from, knowing its implications and being able to spot a worker in distress. Furthermore, it’s everyone’s collective responsibility to contribute to the de-stigmatization of conversations around mental health to ensure that those in need of assistance are able to get it without fear of judgment or hesitation.
Employers also have a responsibility to provide a safe work environment for their contractors. This includes taking steps to support their mental health and build a contractor management program that accounts for their wellbeing. Employers should create a work environment that promotes open communication, reduces stress, and encourages mental wellness. This can include providing access to mental health resources, such as counseling services and support groups.
Ultimately, the efforts of both the employers and their workers must intersect to mutually benefit each other. Open communication should be encouraged on both sides to determine how best to improve the mental wellbeing of the people in their workplace.
Tips for contractors to improve their mental wellbeing
As a contractor, there are several things you can do to improve your mental wellbeing and ensure your safety in the workplace. Here are some tips to get you started:
Prioritize self-care: While stress is unavoidable, it can be managed and mitigated through proactive steps. Take care of your mental and physical health by eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly. These habits can help reduce stress and improve your overall mental wellbeing.
Seek help when needed: Don’t be afraid to reach out for help when you need it. Talk to a trusted friend, family member, or a registered professional if you are struggling with mental health issues. Not addressing the mental challenges that you face will cause you to disregard your wellbeing at the workplace, putting yourself and others at risk.
Take breaks: Take regular breaks throughout the day to reduce stress and improve focus, allowing yourself to recalibrate when you need to. This can help you perform your job duties safely and efficiently. Overworking yourself to the point of burnout will only lead to decreased mental and physical wellbeing.
Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness practices, such as meditation and deep breathing, can help reduce stress and improve mental clarity. Try including such practices into your daily activities to help you release tension before and after work.
Avoid substance abuse: Substance abuse can significantly worsen mental health issues and impair your ability to perform your job duties safely. Avoid alcohol and drug use, and seek help if you have a substance abuse problem.
Mental health is a crucial aspect of work that affects contractor safety in a number of ways.
Challenges with mental wellbeing can impair a contractor’s ability to perform their job duties safely and efficiently, leading to accidents, injuries, and fatalities. Therefore, contractors must prioritize their mental wellbeing, and employers must do their best to provide a safe and understanding work environment that supports their workers.
Addison Moore is Director of Marketing at Contractor Compliance.