Through the Jay Sugarman Practitioner in Residence Program, Princeton’s Kahneman-Treisman Center for Behavioral Science & Public Policy is partnering with SkillSignal, the leading construction safety and compliance platform, to focus on the U.S. construction industry’s worsening mental health crisis.
Studies from the Association of General Contractors (AGC) and the U.S. Department of Labor (OSHA) indicate rapidly growing numbers of clinical depression, anxiety, and burn-out among construction workers. Moreover, frequent physical injuries and strains as a result of the nature of the work often result in spiraling alcohol and opioid dependence. This creates a situation where distraction, accidents, safety hazards, stress, injury, violence and death are more likely to happen. According to the Centers for Disease Control, construction has one of the highest suicide rates of all industries, at 53.2 suicides per 100,000 workers (CIASP).
On August 11, 2022, Sugarman Associate Practitioners Vivian Burgnon and Sebastien de Ghellinck, co-founders of SkillSignal, convened over 50 construction professionals at the School of Public and International Affairs in a full day of learning and sharing sessions. The event marked the launch of the Construction Wellbeing Initiative (CWI), combining academic and policy-focused resources from Princeton University, cutting-edge technology from SkillSignal, and the collective intelligence from construction professionals from every field: C-suite, risk management, safety, insurance, operations, training, and technology. Joining the launch event were representative from the Structure Tone Building Group, Turner Construction, Skanska, Gallagher Basset, AXA XL, Holt, Zurich NA, EW Howell, Consigli, P Agnes, The New York City Department of Buildings, Prosafety, and many other distinguished organizations.
Through the initiative, Burgnon and de Ghellinck are looking to understand the sources of this crisis, to compile industry experience, and analyze field-tested solutions that will increase the physical and mental wellbeing of construction workers on job sites around the nation. The team plans to publish comprehensive online repository of these interventions, which could be used as a public resource available to anyone desiring to increase the physical and mental wellbeing of construction workers on job sites.