The Mental Health of Electricians and Electrical Safety
An important aspect of electrical safety that needs proper attention is the state of the mental health of the electricians and tradesmen. It is critical to the safety of workers doing their jobs onsite.
Working in hazardous jobs means electricians and tradesmen are exposed to various work-related stress. Even personal problems could lead to mental health struggles. When this happens, the electrician could be at risk of injuries when coming in contact with energized circuits. They may not be able to follow protocols to ensure their safety.
In a study, there are psychosocial factors that affect the mental health of electricians. This leads to a 20.3% incidence of mental disorders among electricians who participated in the study. One of the common causes cited was the high pressure from their jobs, as well as low social support and high psychological demand.
How electricians perform their job well is dependent on the state of their mental health. Here, we’ll explore the various facets of mental health struggles and how tradesmen could keep them from affecting their daily job functions.
Mental Health in the Workplace
Creating a positive working environment provides several benefits. Workers are exposed to various stresses, from the workload to personal problems. These contributing factors amplify the mental health issues, which need to be prioritized in the workplace setting.
Electricians go to different job sites to service the electrical needs of the community. Working with mental health struggles can only limit their ability to maintain safety. Be it driving on the road or coming in contact with electrical circuits, electricians and tradesmen are at risk of injuries and are not able to maintain safety precautions while doing their jobs.
Poor mental health causes an electrician to lose focus and concentration, which is an essential skill when handling dangerous electrical circuits. They could be at risk of injuries or accidents once they forget about safety protocols or limit their attention to the hazardous wiring that they’re servicing.
A split second can already mean a lot for an electrician’s safety. Thus, they must prioritize their mental health for them to focus on their jobs and keep dangers away. Most of the time, however, mental health issues such as depression do not show up easily in the person’s actions or appearance. This makes it tricky especially for tradesmen who unknowingly go to work despite not being in a good mental condition.
There are various ways to cope with the problems that electricians face whether it’s personal or related to their jobs. Here, we’re going to explore the causes of mental health struggles and the actions that one can take to improve their mental health.
Common Mental Health Causes With Tradespeople
Financial problems are easily one of the common reasons for people in the trades to have mental health issues. They may find it harder to pay bills or have a massive debt that they need to consolidate.
OCD, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, tends to happen in electricians that want to maintain a high quality of work. The electrician may want the wiring to be at an exact measurement or placement. Thus, triggering mental health issues.
Whether it’s the customers or suppliers, tensions in the workplace can also contribute to mental health problems. Tradesmen may find it difficult to work with the customer, or are concerned about the equipment they’re ordering from a supplier.
The amount of workload is also another factor that affects the mental health of electrical workers. The worker may not be able to meet the demands of their jobs. They might be worried about meeting the deadline for specific job activities.
Having a stable job is a goal for most workers. This becomes a mental health issue when they are worried about their employment status. Things like economic downturns or economic recessions could lead to lay-offs, making them worry if they can still keep their job.
How To Address Mental Health Struggles
1. Be active
Being physically active is one of the ways to cope with mental health problems. It is a way to bring out the various stresses in the body. Exercise releases chemicals known as endorphins. The endorphins result in a positive body feeling, helping to alleviate negative thinking.
A simple exercise brings out the endorphins in the body, which in return makes the person feel excited. Additionally, it serves to warm up their bodies first before heading on to the grueling physical demands of their jobs.
2. Limit media consumption
Media consumption – whether on a mobile device or TV – may aggravate mental health struggles, especially with bad news shown all over. Thus, it’s important to limit the type of media that a worker consumes and minimize the effects of mental health issues.
Although it’s important to watch the news or be on social media, it’s important for someone undergoing struggles to be aware of the media that they consume. This is to prevent the mental health problem from overwhelming them with additional negative news.
3. Talk them over
Having someone to relay and talk over the problems is one way to reduce the anxiety of a worker. When they express what they feel, they can release the tension. It will help to have a support group for the worker where they can express their emotions freely and without judgment.
Even in a workplace setting, electricians themselves can show support to each other if they notice a colleague who shows signs of being mentally ill. This kind of support gives them the motivation to get on with their day-to-day routine.
How Organizations and Contractors Support Mental Health
The good thing about the mental health issues of electricians is they can refer to organizations that promote the welfare of mental health. These could be local community centers or trade associations.
Local community centers assist those who need help regarding their mental health. These are available in various states. Minnesota, for instance, has the non-profit organization Central Minnesota Health Center. Though the organization serves the general public, electricians and tradesmen can also refer to them for their mental health needs.
Another way of seeking help, especially if their mental health is rooted in their job functions, are through trade associations. The advantage of these trade groups is that workers who belong to the same sector work hand-in-hand in giving them the support that they need. There is the NECA or National Electrical Contractors Association, an organization that unites electrical workers and gives contractors the resources they need for their business.
NECA has events that advocate the address the mental health struggles of tradesmen. Among them is the Safety Professionals Conference. The conference features a session on Mental Health and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion to promote safety among workers.
Electrical contractors also have a role in supporting the mental health of their workers. They can provide their workers with enough support that they need to keep their mental health in check. The work policies and systems should include the necessary support and advocate the mental health of the workers. This is why at Power Partner MN, electricians have the tools and training that they need to keep their mental health in a good state.
Power Partner MN has this approach of getting electricians and apprentices alike to move their bodies first thing in the morning before starting their day. Small things like starting the day with a bit of exercise don’t only warm up the body. Additionally, electricians also keep stress away before they move on with their job functions. Aside from exercise, Power Partner MN conducts regular training to empower electricians and make them holistic workers in the field. This is to reduce mental health struggles and improve workplace safety.