Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices. Topic 56-04. Practices on Mental Health, Suicide Prevention, and Addiction Mitigation in Construction and Maintenance

Preliminary Scope: The construction industry confronts alarming statistics regarding mental health, suicide, and addiction. Approximately 16.5% of construction workers report heavy drinking, 11.6% engage in illicit drug use, and 14.3% battle substance misuse addictions. Opioid overdoses, responsible for 47,600 deaths in 2017, disproportionately affected the construction and extraction industry, contributing to 26% of these fatalities. The onset of COVID-19 exacerbated this situation. Disturbingly, the construction sector faces elevated suicide rates, surpassing fatalities from physical hazards by a ratio of 3 to 1. Males in the construction field exhibit notably higher suicide rates than any other industry. This trend is further exacerbated in transportation projects, where extended and irregular working hours, coupled with prolonged work-related travel, make the industry even more vulnerable. National and industry-level initiatives, spearheaded by organizations such as the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention (CIASP), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the Construction Suicide Prevention Partnership (CSPP), aim to address suicide prevention, opioid use, and mental health. However, in the transportation sector, these initiatives need broader acceptance, not only by contractors but also by state departments of transportation (DOTs), to establish a culture prioritizing mental health and wellbeing for suicide and opioid use prevention. Although some initiatives exist (e.g., the ongoing transit-oriented effort “TCRP F-29 Mental Health, Wellness, and Resilience for Transit System Workers,” and policies from the office of Drug and Alcohol Policy & Compliance by the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) resources for mental health and suicide prevention), further progress is essential. As the construction industry grapples with endemic mental health challenges, there is significant variability in organizational awareness and implementation strategies across different state DOTs. The objective of this synthesis is to document state DOT practices on mental health, suicide prevention, and addiction mitigation in construction and maintenance Information to be gathered includes (but is not limited to): Policies, procedures, contract specifications, and/or guidelines state DOTs have in place to address mental health, suicide prevention, and substance addiction; Processes that state DOTs employ to spread awareness regarding these issues; How state DOTs incentivize stakeholders (e.g., contractors) to establish mental health, suicide prevention, and opioid use mitigation as part of their safety programs; Communication practices to key external stakeholders, such as federal, state, and local officials, planning agencies, legislators, and members of the general public; and Examples from the implementation of any awareness programs, policies, or incentives implemented by state DOTs. Information will be gathered through a literature review, a survey of state DOTs, and follow-up interviews with selected DOTs for the development of case examples. Information gaps and suggestions for research to address those gaps will be identified.


  • English


  • Funding: $55000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-05, Topic 56-04

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Synthesis

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Wadsworth, Trey

  • Start Date: 20240910
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01920387
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-05, Topic 56-04
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: May 31 2024 8:22PM