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MATES help for working during COVID-19

As events change across the country because of COVID-19, the construction industry like many others, is experiencing changes to work routines through the need for social distancing.

MATES in Construction has put together a range of useful resources for workers to print off and display on building sites or keep for their own reference.

The fact sheets and posters include links to health authorities for trusted information, as well as information on staying healthy, mental health, financial and business support, and the risks of smoking or using alcohol or drugs to deal with stress.

There is advice on setting up a MyGov account which is needed to make a Jobseeker claim, or apply for early superannuation withdrawal through the ATO.

Looking after worker mental health is also vital, MATES Queensland CEO Jorgen Gullestrup said.

“The Department of Public Works has updated its pre-qualification of contractors process to now include questions about workplace mental health and suicide prevention programs,” Mr Gullestrup said.

“Because a focus on mental health and suicide prevention for construction companies is not just good workplace health and safety – it is also a good business decision.”

Mr Gullestrup said the mental health of younger workers should not be overlooked.

“We recently released research into mental health and wellbeing amongst young workers in the industry, which found that despite a large majority of apprentices feeling well supported and supervised, a significant number (27 per cent) experienced regular bullying,” he said.

“A large proportion has poor mental wellbeing and more than 13 per cent had such high psychological distress that it would indicate severe mental illness, with 30 per cent of all apprentices having considered suicide in the past 12 months.

“This is especially concerning because we already know that suicide rates amongst the industry’s apprentices are twice that of other young employed men in Australia.”

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