Engineering Employers’ Health & Safety
More than 37% of engineers rate their mental health as ‘poor’ or ‘fair,’ according to the Masculinity in Engineering employers report. The study also found that male engineers were twice as likely as female ones to say that they have poor mental health. While there are steps that engineers can take to improve their mental health, it’s crucial that employers take action too and incorporate adequate mental health support as part of their health and safety procedures.
Understanding poor mental health among engineers
63% of engineers state that the environment they work in isn’t diverse. As a result, the Masculinity in Engineering employers report concluded that a lack of diversity in the industry is a leading cause of poor mental health. In addition, the high number of males in engineering roles means that men face pressure to act and perform in stereotypical ways, and this is what is ultimately leading to a mental health crisis among male engineers. These factors are making male engineers feel lonely, abnormal and unable to open up, and it’s having a devastating impact on their health and safety in the workplace.
Health & safety risk
Research shows that people with mental health concerns are more likely to injure themselves. One study found that 45.3% of people with a mental health condition had experienced an injury within the previous 12 months. This figure shows that all engineering employers within the sector must ensure that they are safeguarding their engineers against physical injury, especially when poor mental health is likely to increase the chances of an accident occurring. Having workers comp insurance in place will protect any engineering business should they need to pay out compensation to a worker who has been injured on the job. Other costs that may be covered include medical expenses, supplementary wages and legal fees. While it’s beneficial to have this protection in place, employers should also have strategies in place to aid the mental health of their team of engineers.
Improving mental health
The duty of care that employers have towards their engineers means that they must make every effort to employ a broad range of workers. Stereotypes and their associated phrases, such as ‘man up,’ must also be removed from the workplace immediately. All workers must be encouraged to express who they are and how they feel, and this can be done via one-to-one interactions and group meetups. But most of all, all employers in the engineering field must support and listen to their workers. If professional help is needed, then the employer should be prepared to cater to this request and even cover the cost of it. After all, it’s beneficial for them in the long run, as poor mental health results in 50% of Millennials and 75% of Gen Z-ers quitting their jobs.
Workplace health and safety in the engineering field extends beyond physical safety. Employers must, therefore, ensure that they have steps in place to identify and help any engineer they employ who is battling with poor mental health.