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May 28, 2019

A look at the first report on suicide in New Zealand’s construction sector



As reported on, job insecurity, business pressures, demands to deliver on deadlines and dealing with illness and injury were factors involved in 300 suicides in New Zealand’s multi-billion dollar construction sector in a decade, according to a new report out today.

Brett Murray, Site Safe chief executive, said his organisation had released “the first report on suicide in New Zealand’s construction sector” and that showed factors why people killed themselves.

Responding to concerns about high construction industry suicide levels, the report highlighted alarming pressures on workers and aimed to provide evidence to inform future prevention moves.

The study reviewed 300 coroners’ closed case files of construction industry suicides. Those occurred between 2007 to 2017. Coroners’ reports listed workplace pressures as a factor in nearly a third or 32.3 per cent of all cases, Site Safe said.

“The workplace pressures mentioned in coroners’ reports included job insecurity or uncertainty, the stress related to running a business, pressure to deliver under deadlines, juggling responsibilities and dealing with an injury or illness affecting the ability to work. One in eight or 13 per cent of all cases listing workplace pressures included experiences of job insecurity or uncertain work situation,” Murray said.

The self-employed or business owners were twice as likely to have been impacted by work-related factors than employees of businesses, the study found.

The report is aimed at informing industry, Government, and the wider public so they can understand the risk factors and pressures that can contribute to suicide in the construction industry so that they can better respond to them, a statement said.

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