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Balfour Beatty helps to open minds at Sellafield when it comes to discussing mental health

Balfour Beatty has continued its commitment to raising awareness of mental health and wellbeing in construction, through its sponsorship of an event for its Sellafield workforce.

According to Health and Safety Executive figures, 18% of reported work-related illnesses in the UK construction industry are the result of mental health problems such as stress, depression or anxiety and account for 400,000 working days lost each year.

Through Balfour Beatty’s commitment to initiatives such as Mates in Mind, a programme delivered to the UK construction industry with the support of the Health in Construction Leadership Group, the company is driving forward a flexible and joined-up approach to break the silence and stigma surrounding mental health in construction.

The Mental Health & Wellbeing Event at Sellafield’s nuclear facility in Cumbria echoed the importance of breaking down perceived barriers when it comes to talking about mental health. Rugby star, Danny Sculthorpe, discussed the challenges he had faced and encouraged the workforce to open up about mental health and talk freely about wellbeing.

Iain Wilson, nuclear director for Balfour Beatty said: “In a country where 42% of construction workers are likely to experience mental health issues, we are committed to creating a business with mental health and wellbeing at its heart.
“Balfour Beatty is delighted to work together with Sellafield Ltd and other construction companies, to raise awareness and foster an open culture where our employees feel able to talk about their mental health without feeling they will be judged.”

Sellafield Ltd.’s Mark Sarrington said: “We all know how to deal with the traditional safety hazards on congested construction sites. However, a change in someone’s behaviour, signs of stress, pressure and anxiety aren’t as easy to spot.

“We want to create an environment where our employees feel able to talk about their mental health and know where to go to for support."

Balfour Beatty’s 330 strong workforce delivers nuclear fuel reprocessing and nuclear-decommissioning services as part of The Box Encapsulation Plant Delivery Team and Silo Maintenance Facility at Sellafield.