Builders Should Treat Mental Health and Substance Abuse as Safety Issues

Contact: Brad Mannion
Director, Labor, Health & Safety
(202) 266-8265

Every week during National Safety Month, NAHB and other partners will focus on a different aspect of jobsite safety. This week is mental health and substance abuse.

Everyone agrees that substance abuse carries a very real safety issue on jobsites. But how should you address an employee or contractor that you suspect is impaired? And is your goal to treat them and have them return to work safely as soon as possible?

NAHB has numerous resources that can help identify and address substance abuse issues and create a path for return to work, including resources for tackling Opioids in the Home Building Industry and a video toolbox talk on Substance Misuse.

Mental health issues may not be considered a safety concern, but workers who are distracted by or fatigued due to their mental health circumstances may pose a real danger to themselves and others on jobsites.

Although mental health is a tricky issue for many, the most powerful and direct first step to addressing them with a worker is a simple, “How are you doing?” When someone knows they are supported, seeking professional help is much easier.

NAHB also has resources to help home builders navigate these tricky conversations. Check out the various resources on the Mental Health and Wellbeing page, and watch the video toolbox talk on Mental Health, also embedded below.

It can be difficult to talk about mental health and substance abuse, but in an era of labor shortages and heightened stress, it’s a business necessity to keep workers safe and on the job.

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