At the Construction Working Minds Summit, hosted by United Suicide Survivors International and the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention (CIASP), Shawmut was honored as a Mental Health Visionary, recognized for being a vocal, visible visionary in this critically important work both within our company and industry. Learn more about the work we’ve done so far in the below video featuring chief safety officer Shaun Carvalho, as well as below.
Since Shawmut’s inception more than 40 years ago, safety has been a core value, embedded into the culture as a top-down and bottom-up business imperative. This drives a sense of ownership, with buy-in and engagement from every employee. It also drives results—we have seen a 78% decrease in lost workday incident rates since 2018.
Safety extends beyond the bounds of our 1,000 employees—and even beyond the 60,000 individuals on our sites annually and 8,000 firms in our subcontractor network—into the local community, general public, and families of all involved. Our culture of safety is about sending everyone home safely, and more informed, so they come back even better the next day.
In 2016, Shawmut increased focus on Total Worker Health, introducing our company and partner network to the concept of focusing on safety of the entire person—not just physical safety and not just on the jobsite. This, on top of our culture, laid the groundwork for our enhanced focus and work on mental health and well-being.
To proactively respond to construction’s opioid crisis in 2018, we mobilized a cross-functional Opioid Task Force to provide resources for Shawmut and our entire network, partnering with the Grayken Center for Addiction at Boston Medical Center to have access to the most up-to-date and critical information. Shawmut partnered with Blue Cross Blue Shield to pilot an opioid toolkit program and, to-date, all of Shawmut’s field and office services staff have undergone substance use disorder training, including the administration of Narcan—which is supplied to all Shawmut jobsites.
Improving worker safety from a psychological and mental health perspective can significantly reduce safety incidents. Shawmut works to create an environment where everyone is seen, heard, and valued, allowing people to safely open up about their struggles—without blame, stigma, or judgment. Shawmut’s Diversity Leadership Council (DLC) actively drives a strategic framework to advance toward a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace. A recent initiative led by Shawmut’s safety team in partnership with the DLC was the launch of enhanced Toolbox Talks that address Total Worker Health and safety, with the specific goal of making jobsites more inclusive. The Culture of Care Toolbox Talks focus on safety from a psychological, mental health, and inclusive behavior standpoint. Shared monthly, topics include mental health awareness (PTSD, suicide prevention), racism, and sexism.
Shawmut has also integrated mindfulness into its safety program, which fosters empathy and opens the door for more candid and regular safety conversations. This leads to enhanced learning and awareness and ultimately ensures critical information is received before a safety incident occurs. Shawmut integrates mindfulness into regular company- and department-wide touchpoints, as well as Toolbox Talks.
All of this is layered on top of our mental health benefits, which include a confidential, free employee assistance program that offers short-term counseling and referrals—available 24/7.