Calgary, AB, November 22, 2023 – Leading Canadian safety experts converge in downtown Calgary to discuss remedies and support for psychosocial issues such as mental health and addictions to create healthier work environments.
The theme for the Conference, ‘Healthy Minds, Safe Workplaces – Constructing a Safety Culture,’ sets the tone for the conference after hearing from ACSA’s members. Mental health and physical well-being make it harder to retain and attract much-needed workers to the construction industry. A survey of members revealed many industry employees experience burnout from working long hours and meeting aggressive deadlines due to major projects in the non-residential sector, combined with seasonal industrial shutdowns and maintenance activity. Respondents indicated that life-work balance and stressors such as chronic pain, depression and addiction are prevalent among trade employees.
In 2022, the Public Health Agency of Canada reported that three (3) out of four (4) opioid deaths are men, and 30 to 50 per cent of those employed worked in trades. According to the Centers for Disease Control, construction has the highest suicide rate of all industries, at 53.2 suicides per 100,000 workers -five times greater than other construction fatalities combined. “Psychological health and safety, including mental health, addictions, burnout, and more, are dangers we cannot see and impact workers’ home and work lives. We need a holistic physical and psychological safety approach to keep our workforce safe,” says Chief Executive Officer Mark Hoosein. “The key to making a difference is to listen and collaborate safety is about the people.“
Keynote speaker Allan Kehler, a mental health advocate and best-selling author, adds, “I spent years struggling with mental illness, addictions and suicidal ideations. I believe the only reason why I’m still here today is to carry a message. I want to share my story, hoping it will shed a positive light on others’ journey.”
The sold-out ACSA 2023 Conference creates a space for collaboration so attendees can leave with practical learnings and actions to shape a safety culture. This discussion marks 35 years of safety milestones and achievements, such as online safety courses and meaningful engagement with over 50,000 members to advance workplace safety.
“Creating a safety culture is more than a compliance checklist – it’s about building an environment that attracts and nurtures talent, where every worker is valued, protected, and equipped to contribute to their and our industry’s growth. It’s not only good for productivity, and it’s the right thing to do,” adds Chief Executive Officer Mark Hoosein.
Liz Horvath, the Psychological Health and Safety manager at the Mental Health Commission of Canada, adds, “we know that the mental health system in Canada is overwhelmed with the rise in mental health problems, and this is affecting our organizations and our workers … there is a link between stress, fear, and anxiety and higher risk of accidents and deaths among construction workers.
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About ACSA: Established in 1988, the Alberta Construction Safety Association (ACSA) is a uniquely member-centric, industry-funded organization and the largest certifying partner in Alberta, driving safety and business excellence in a high-risk industry and serving more than 54,000 members.