This paper sets out to understand the nature of suicide among construction operatives.

Suicide is a silent killer in the Australian construction industry with suicide rates significantly higher than the all-industry average. These statistics are mirrored in many countries, yet there has been very little research into suicide in construction, compared to other causes of fatalities such as falls and vehicle accidents. This paper uses psychological theories of suicide as a lens to conceptualise, for the first time, the causes of suicide in the construction industry.

The conceptual model provides the basis for future research in this area and suggests that poor psychosocial work conditions, bullying and work-family conflicts are the major root causes of suicidal ideation among construction operatives. Lack of access to psychosocial support and counselling, resorting to alcohol and drugs for comfort and pre-existing psychiatric conditions are among other the key factors that translate ideation into suicidal behaviour.

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