January 15 2021

ACT Building and Construction Industry Findings

The OzHelp Foundation (OzHelp) recently conducted a survey across the ACT building and construction industry with the aim to better understand industry needs and expectations with respect to mental health, wellbeing, and suicide prevention support for their businesses.

The recognition of the need by business owners and managers to invest pro-actively in employee mental health and wellbeing is strongly evidenced by the survey feedback.

Chief Executive Officer Mr. Darren Black said the number of respondents to the survey was pleasing.

“We received 172 responses to the survey and what we discovered is the industry wants to support its people. There is a need for training, counselling, and critical incident support and the industry is seeking advice in the planning and implementation of their own health and wellbeing programs.” Mr. Black said.

The feedback identified several obstacles in implementing a health and wellbeing program, most notably:

  • Getting male dominated workforces to engage;
  • Disruptions to job site operations / taking workers off a job; and
  • Cost

Overcoming these obstacles is not insurmountable with the necessary business leadership and appropriate planning and support. OzHelp will continue to work with industry, ACT Government, and the regulator WorkSafe ACT, in resourcing and supporting businesses to invest in workplace mental health and wellbeing for the benefit of the industry as a whole.

Click image to see industry findings:

Survey summary

The cost of doing nothing

Suicide is a leading cause of death in Australia. On average nine people take their own lives each day, seven of whom are men. The cost to the economy from lost productivity and participation due to mental ill health is somewhere between $12.2 to $39.1 billion per annum, and the estimated 2.8 million working Australians that have a mental illness, are evidence of the need for workplaces to invest in mental health and wellbeing programs.

Mr. Black said that mental health and wellbeing programs benefit not just the workforce, but the business too.

“Programs have a dual purpose – improving workplace culture and effectiveness while providing an avenue for support.”

People with mental ill-health took an average of ten to twelve days per year off work due to psychological distress.

In Financial Year 2019, the total incurred cost for NSW workers’ compensation claims was estimated at $585m (psychological injury claims); the average claim for an individual psychological injury was $85k (vs $21k for a physical injury claim).

OzHelp’s support for the ACT Industry

OzHelp’s wellbeing support workers, counsellors, and nurses deliver training, health checks and attend ACT building and construction sites to provide support to workforces.

The Tradies’ Tune Up health checks and education programs are available for site bookings five days a week and can be booked by calling 1300 694 357.

OzHelp employs counsellors who are available FREE to ACT building and construction industry workers and their families. This includes apprentices.

Specialised planning and advisory support around the design and implementation of your workplace wellbeing program is available. OzHelp is accredited through the National Standards for Mental Health Services.

Programs are evidence-based and are designed for the building and construction industry. Critical Incident Response is available.

OzHelp’s Clinical Advisory Committee provides clinical and procedural guidance with experience across areas of nursing, education, and mental health, and suicide prevention research.

To understand more about the survey or learn more about how OzHelp can support your business, call 02 6251 4166 or email [email protected]

Need to talk to someone?

Help is available. Call OzHelp 1300 394 357, Lifeline 13 11 14, MensLine Australia 1300 789 978, or talk to your GP, local health professional, or someone you trust.


Productivity Commission 2020, Mental Health, Report no. 95, Canberra

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Catalogue 3303.0 Cause of Death Australia, 2019 released in October 2020.