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Byron Shire
April 19, 2021

Mates reach out to building sites in bid to stop suicides

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The Block's Keith Schleiger, aka the Blockinator, is promoting an anti-suicide initiative on building sites. File photo
The Block’s Keith Schleiger, aka the Blockinator, is promoting an anti-suicide initiative on building sites. File photo

The incidence of suicide in the construction industry is alarming.  Each year one in every 20 workers in this industry will think about taking their own life and every second day a construction worker will die by suicide

For hundreds of construction workers each year will be left permanently disabled following a suicide attempt.

Research shows that construction workers are 70 per cent more likely to die by suicide than other employed men in Australia. It is a sad fact that more than six times more workers die by suicide than fatal accidents on site in the construction industry each year. The charity MATES in Construction has been working to change these statistics since 2008 and are having a real impact.

Now suicide prevention charity MATES In Construction (MIC) are launching a new partnership with waste management company DATS to help save the lives of building workers and have enlisted TV celebrity Keith Schleiger (aka the Blockinator) to announce it.

DATS ‘ambassador’ Keith Schleiger said that he was delighted to be involved in such a worthwhile cause.

‘Before fronting the camera, my past life was on construction and building sites and I know first-hand the pressures faced by construction workers – loneliness, long working hours, job and pay insecurity, incidence intimidation and bullying of younger workers,’ he said.

‘Every two days in Australia, a construction worker takes his own life and suicide kills more men than workplace and traffic accidents combined, so we urgently need to start addressing this issue and it’s great to see MATES and DATS partnering together on this,’ he added.

‘As blokes we deal with these things differently to women and this is a program about mates helping mates.

‘If we are to start seriously addressing the severe rate of suicide in the construction industry, men on worksites need to be prepared to use the ‘F-word’ more – they need to talk about their feelings.’

MIC CEO, Jorgen Gullestrup stated that the partnership with DATS will help bring the suicide will help bring the suicide prevention message to new construction sites – large and small – across Australia.

The partnership will see DATS bins on construction sites in Sydney branded with the MIC logo – a constant reminder to construction workers that support is all around them.

‘We hope that this partnership is a strong way for companies like DATS to demonstrate their commitment to mental wellbeing in the workplace,’ Mr Gullestrup said.

‘Our field staff can’t be on every site all the time, but having a DATS bin with our logo is a great way of spreading the message and reminding construction workers that help is available if they are going through a tough time.

‘Together we will be playing our part in trying to stop 50 preventable deaths from suicide in the NSW construction industry each year.’

Managing Director of DATS, Scott Crosweller said ‘Sustainability is at the core of DATS values.

‘To DATS, sustainability is not just about the environment, it is about the mental health and wellbeing of an organisation and its people,’ Mr Crosweller said

‘I became aware of the suicide statistics in the construction industry and felt obliged to reach out to MATES In Construction after hearing about the fantastic work they do.

‘We started the association with MIC via a series of videos fronted by Keith and they  highlighted the disturbing incidence of suicide in the industry, as well as spreading awareness of the unique programs run by MIC.

‘We want to bring the MATES programs to the attention of everyone in the industry.

Media contact:

MATES in Construction:                  Mitchell Collier 0467 792 013

DATS Environmental Services:        Sue Woodward 0416 209 198



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