LMCT addresses construction worker suicide as part of OSHA event

Mechanical Insulators Labor Management Cooperative Trust (LMCT) Executive Director Pete Ielmini joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast and talked about the alarming suicide rate of construction workers and the resources available to help those in crisis. 

Ielmini addressed the suicide epidemic in the construction industry as part of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Suicide Prevention Safety Stand-Down, which took place this week. 

The event educates the public about the unique mental health challenges workers face in the construction industry. Employers are encouraged to share resources and information and urge employees to seek help if struggling.

The construction industry suffers from one of the highest suicide rates of any other sector, Ielmini said. Construction workers die by suicide five times more often than fatalities on the job.  Due to a high rate of work-related injury, opioid addiction is expected, which only worsens the problem, he added. 

The LMCT has launched a campaign that strives to reduce the stigma of mental health challenges and address the suicide epidemic in construction. The movement has created hardhat stickers promoting the national suicide hotline number and a wallet card that provides helpful mental health resources.

Ielmini reassured those struggling that it is ok to not always be ok. Mental health challenges and the subject of suicide have been taboo for far too long, he said. Ielmini encouraged anyone in crisis to seek help. 

Ielmini also promoted 988 as a resource. The suicide and crisis hotline works similarly to 911. This resource is available to anyone in crisis, including those seeking to help someone else. 

Remembering the tragedy of 9/11

Ielmini also commemorated the 21st anniversary of 9/11 and its tragic events. 

He talked about the contributions of New York City union construction workers who helped in the excavation process and saved lives buried beneath the rubble. He remembered how any construction worker with a union card was welcomed to the site of Ground Zero because of the valuable skills they could provide. Thanks to union construction workers, lives were saved on that fateful day, he added. 

Ielmini also said he had been in New Jersey on the day of the attacks, 12 miles away from the World Trade Center. He recalled seeing smoke from the wreckage after the first plane hit, a haunting and chilling vision he will never forget.

Listen to the interview. 

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