Managing risk in an organization includes discussing mental health in the workplace – and on the job site. Construction job site best practices are intended to help manage risk and keep workers safe, both physically and mentally.

The construction industry is uniquely predisposed to employees experiencing an injury, suicide, or mental health conditions. The Covid-19 pandemic has added more stress to individuals in the construction industry. Employees already face daily stressors of physical safety, exhaustive labor, and extensive hours. 

We are working to de-stigmatize mental health conditions in the construction space. By helping to define proper procedures, organizations can better set up our essential workers for success. It’s critical for construction corporations and employers alike to proactively mitigate risk in the workplace to create a safer environment.

When an organization invests in safety measures, it prevents potential injuries and protects worker’s physical and mental health. Issues such as substance abuse are common after experiencing an injury. However, the stigma around mental health leaves necessary discussions ignored. Furthermore, the industry has seen an increase in substance abuse since the onset of coronavirus.

Creating a substance-free workplace

Promoting a substance-free workplace can be a great start to managing risk. As a whole, the industry continues to fight prescription drug overdoses as a result of injuries. The construction industry continues to build aggressive schedules in an already stressful work environment. Alongside Covid-19, it will continue to be a sector where individuals are predisposed to experiencing injuries. Therefore, potential mental health conditions may arise. Corporations must consider the correlation of violence in the workplace, ignored mental health conditions, and substance abuse. The risks these factors pose should not be ignored.

After establishing proactive safety measures, build your organization’s risk policies to help determine tangible steps in creating a substance-free workplace. Work with a risk management advisor to determine what policies and standards should be in place. Define how it’s best communicated to the team and how and when drug tests will occur. Clearly communicate what the consequences are, and how opioids usage impacts an organization at large.

Risk management is also a financial investment

Managing risk is essential to protecting the safety of employees, but it’s also a financial investment. Enforcing safety measures saves $3 on the dollar. Annual losses of $121 billion are attributed to workplace assaults. Domestic violence issues that are brought into the workplace cost organizations nearly $727 million in lost productivity. Workplace catastrophes, such as violent incidents resulting in injury, have caused publicly traded companies to lose close to 8% in shareholder value. Lastly, lawsuits associated with workplace violence cost companies an average of $500,000 for out-of-court settlements. This blog post has more information regarding workplace risk and its financial data.

In summary, prioritize safety and prevention. Implement best practices to keep essential workers safe by staying ahead of risk, workplace violence, and potential substance abuse – all while managing costs. Ensure the organization curates a written plan, gives or provides access to training and education, and thinks about the best format for your employees to learn.

Chris Ramsey, CLCS, CERC, and Joseph Urquhart, CPCU, CRIS, specialize in insurance and risk management programs for all contractors, real estate developers, and manufacturers while advising all clients on insurance issues, such as risk transfer, builder’s risk, additional insured, professional liability, and loss control. Ramsey can be reached at and Urquhart at

About Overmyer Hall Associates

Overmyer Hall Associates is one of the fastest growing agencies in the country, quickly becoming one of the largest property and casualty insurance agencies in Central Ohio. Overmyer Hall Associates provides clients with insurance and risk management, specializing in Business Insurance, Surety Bonding, and Home & Auto Insurance. Since its founding in 2011, the firm has been awarded Columbus Business First’s "Fast 50" and "Best Places to Work" awards, the IIABA’s “Best Practices Agency” recognition, Columbus CEO Magazine’s “Best Insurance Broker” and the Columbus Young Professionals Club’s “Wonderful Workplace for Young Professionals” award.