Researchers at Leeds University find that 16% of all suicides in the city are committed by construction workers
Research by academics at the University of Leeds has produced further evidence of the extraordinarily high suicide rate among construction workers.

The analysis of data from Leeds coroners' court reveals that out of 240 cases of suicide in Leeds between 1998 and 2001, 38 involved construction workers.

Bryan Rye, UCATT's eastern regional secretary, said that his union intended to use the statistics to urge the Department of Health to allocate more resources to deal with the problem.

He said: "I am in contact with UCATT's central office over the issue and we are hoping to take the latest figures to the Department of Health to demonstrate the extent of the problem."

Rye added that the findings in Leeds fitted into the pattern of construction suicide that seemed to be emerging across the country.

Building revealed last June that construction has a higher rate of suicide than any other professional sector and that a construction worker commits suicide every two days.

Research by the East Kent Health authority found that 16% of the 233 suicides in the region in 1998-2001 were committed by construction workers. This is the same percentage as Leeds. The Isle of Wight Health authority found that 10% of its suicides were committed by workers in the construction industry.

Leeds Metropolitan University fellow Phil Clegg said he would write a paper exploring the link between suicide and the construction sector.

Construction pensions and insurance provider B&CE revealed last year that of the 448 death benefit claims lodged with the firm for the 12 months ending 31 March 2002, 46 were recorded as suicides.

The problem of suicide in construction is not confined to the UK. In Australia, a study has shown that construction workers in the state of Queensland are taking their own lives at twice the rate of the average employee. At the country's Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union's biennial conference, delegates were told that more than 40% of all death-related claims to the building industry's pension provider referred to suicides.

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