Posted by Rod McCoremick
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that we have focused on the issue of safety on the drill site in the past. From covering topics such as safety gear to extreme hot and cold weather conditions, our goal has been to make sure drillers know the latest safety recommendations. These have all covered the physical aspect of being safe but another area that is not often talked about is mental well-being.
Mental health is still a topic that is avoided but awareness is being raised about the stressors faced at work and at home. Recent studies into workplace health have shown that over 50% of workers are experiencing anxiety and depression, while over 60% are experiencing moderate to high levels of stress. Labour shortages are compounding the situation as employees are being asked to do more.
Drill sites are no exception. Diamond drillers have their fair share of difficult situations to deal with, including demanding work schedules, fatigue and being away from friends and family for extended periods of time. These can also lead to self-medication with alcohol or other substances. It’s important to keep in mind that your mental health is as important as your physical health and effort should be made to find solutions that ensure your well-being on the drill site.
The good news is that many employers have employee-assistance programmes, such as help lines that provide access to mental health professionals and are completely confidential. Similarly, there are many local, community-based programmes that are available.
While many people still feel uncomfortable discussing these types of problems, things are changing for the better. The media have brought these issues to light and many celebrities are becoming spokespeople for mental health. Reaching out to a trusted friend is being encouraged and is now portrayed as a strength and not a weakness. Connecting with someone who understands can be a great first step. The driller community is a tight one so there are many colleagues who are experiencing the same stressors and can provide support or simply act as a sounding board. If you notice a co-worker is having a bad day, reach out and start a conversation. By being proactive, you can make it more likely that other team members will approach you when they are struggling.
When you are having a lousy day, it’s important to recognize that one bad day does not mean the next will be bad as well. Simple steps such as physical activity have been shown to improve moods. The endorphins that are released during exercise can lift spirits and relieve anxiety.
Fordia is proud to be part of the greater drilling community and our goal has always been to make drillers’ lives easier. We believe that goal includes helping drillers stay safe and maintain a sense of well-being on the drill site.