On September 8, more than 450 construction sites and businesses across Australia hoisted the MATES in Construction (MIC) flag on Thursday, September 8 as a show of solidarity in an industry six time more likely to lose a worker to suicide than a workplace accident.
MIC CEO Jorgen Gullestrup said the organisation’s Fly the Flag initiative had gained momentum since launching last year.
“This is an industry that is predominantly male with a ‘harden up’ culture that can often leave workers feeling isolated and not knowing how to ask for help, even when they desperately need it,” Mr Gullestrup said.
“Issues like relationship breakdown, excess alcohol consumption, bullying, and of course the inherent nature of the job – which often involves long hours or FIFO, coupled with poor job security and fluctuating incomes, can be magnified within such a male-dominated, macho culture,” he said.
The Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, the Hon. Grace Grace MP, joined the MIC campaign, visiting workers at an Icon Construction site in Brisbane to highlight just how prevalent, and tragic, suicide is for men in particular.
“Research has found that the suicide rate among Queensland construction workers is 25 per cent higher than the suicide rate of the general population in Queensland, and 46 per cent higher than the general population in Australia,” Ms Grace said.
“But there is help available and construction workers should never be afraid to reach out for assistance,” Ms Grace said.