By: G. David Sload, ABC President-CEO

Do you know what the number one cause of death is for construction workers?

I did not, and I was shocked to find out it is suicide. This does not even come close to the other statistics. According to the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention, losing a construction worker to suicide is five times greater than all other construction fatalities and four times greater than the national average of industry suicides. Our industry loses 53.2 workers per 100,000 workers employed annually. In an industry that employs close to seven million, that equates to us losing 3,700 workers per year to suicide.

Why? That is a great and important question, and I’m not sure we have all of the answers yet. However, with the numbers we are seeing, it is important we get our hands around this issue. Seeing that the bulk of these suicides occur in employees between the ages of 20 and 50, we need to focus on not just our employee’s physical health, but additionally their mental well-being.

Both ABC National and ABC Keystone are starting to take this issue seriously. Greg Seizmore from ABC National is now a trustee on the “Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention.” This group has already started to research and disseminate useful information. I would invite you to go to their website ( and see the resources they offer.

In the near future, ABC Keystone will be offering different trainings covering several aspects of this issue, from suicide awareness to helping employees recognize those who may be at risk. Suicide happens for many reasons. If we can start to recognize those at risk, we may be able to prevent and save a life. Most employers offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) to help employees having personal or professional difficulties. However, sometimes an employee does not recognize they need help. That is when employers and fellow employees can provide assistance.

Let’s work together to reduce these numbers by becoming more educated on the topic. Take advantage our upcoming no-cost seminars on suicide prevention. Together we can attack what is becoming a tragic epidemic.

December 3, 2019