Monthly Archives: May 2023

Mental Health and Construction: A Way Forward

Mental health should be a priority in all industries, but it’s even more important in industries like construction.

If you ask someone what the biggest dangers of working construction are, they’ll usually say physical injuries. But each year, more construction workers die from suicide than every construction workplace fatality combined. 

In construction, workers often have an internalized sense of shame about mental health issues. But the stress of construction can cause anyone to feel depressed or anxious. 

Mental health concerns in the construction industry require proactivity to ensure the well-being of your workers. Learn how to prioritize mental health and break the stigma for your team. 

Mental Health Challenges

Construction employees are more vulnerable to burnout and mental health crises than many other fields. Construction workers face high-stress working conditions, physical strain on the body, and long, irregular hours in dangerous work environments. 

Beyond on-the-job stressors, construction workers are facing job insecurity and financial stress. Despite construction workers’ tireless efforts to support their families during the pandemic, there has been little financial stability as a reward for surviving a difficult time. 

Impact of Poor Mental Health

Poor mental health has a negative effect on workers’ overall well-being and quality of life. Beyond the causes of burnout, construction workers face the repercussions of it.

Burnout can cause workers to feel drained, lose sleep, frequently get sick, or experience headaches and muscle pain. It can also cause your workers to feel helpless, trapped, defeated, or detached from the world. 

Stress and burnout can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. An employee who is struggling with their mental health is more likely to be involved in an accident or be injured on the job. Employees who are suffering from sleep deprivation due to mental health issues are more likely to make mistakes and are often less productive. 

Construction workers are also more likely to suffer from substance abuse than the average American. Since injury and illness rates are higher in construction than any other industry, many employees are prescribed painkillers and other prescription drugs when they are injured. More than 15% of construction workers suffered from substance abuse in 2018, and substance abuse nearly doubles the rate of suicide for men. 

Warning Signs

Employees experiencing burnout may have decreased productivity or may frequently be late. They may self-isolate or experience more conflicts with their coworkers. 

If you see any of these signs present in your employees, respond immediately and offer access to professional health. 

Contributing Factors

A lack of awareness and education about mental health issues affects employees before they even step onto the jobsite. Most construction workers do not express their feelings or seek help: of the 60% of construction workers struggling with their mental heath, only one-third said they would tell their employer. 

The cultural stigma surrounding mental health is stronger in male-dominated spaces and careers. Men are often raised to be “tough” and not show any perceived weakness. A lack of mental health support from companies and managers discourages employees from asking for help.

Providing Support

Creating a supportive workplace environment begins with reducing the stigma around mental health. Normalizing discussions and providing the right resources for your employees will help you create a safe space for them. 

Provide mental health benefits and resources. 

Counseling services should be part of every employee’s benefits package. Encourage your employees to take part in these services. They may feel unwilling to see a counselor. Reminding your employees that these programs exist is a step in the right direction.

Offering mental health days, when employees can take time to rest physically and mentally, can actually improve productivity on your jobsite. Many workers are hesitant to take time off for mental health because they’re afraid of losing their jobs or being penalized. You can encourage team members to use these days when they’re experiencing stress or burnout. 

Take preventative measures.

Even in a supportive workplace, you may have employees who aren’t willing to utilize mental health resources. You can still help these employees by managing their job-related stress. 

One of the easier ways to prevent burnout is to encourage your team to take regular breaks, which are good for their mental and physical health. Communicating your expectations for employees can also help them feel more secure and less stressed. 

Provide training about stress management. 

Since long-term stress is one of the biggest causes of burnout, your team can benefit from a course about managing their stress. These courses can teach employees how to reduce stress in the moment, manage negative thoughts and feelings, motivate them, and more. 

Training won’t eliminate stress in your employees’ lives, but it can give them healthy coping mechanisms to avoid burnout and depression. 

Create a supportive work environment through open communication channels.

You can support your employees by creating a framework for how your team talks about mental health. Normalizing discussions about mental health can encourage employees to seek help when they are struggling. Speaking to your team with empathy and vulnerability can encourage them to speak up when they need help. You can create a culture of feedback and a sense of belonging on your team. 

This news story details how construction company RK Mechanical made mental health a focus after losing an employee to suicide. 


As an employer, you may notice employee push-back when mental health resources are made available in your company. Don’t despair, and don’t cancel the programs. Years of socialization to be “tough” can’t be dispelled overnight. 

Construction workers are some of the hardest-working employees in our country, if not the hardest-working. Your team members deserve access to mental health resources to protect their lives. 

Building a mental health program isn’t difficult, and it could even save someone’s life one day. In the construction industry and adjacent industries, we must all prioritize mental health and implement these proactive measures. 

How to Dispose of Used Oil

Oil changes are a necessary part of owning a car or large equipment, but disposing of used oil can be a challenge. Used motor oil contains contaminants that can harm humans and the environment if they’re not disposed of properly. 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that used oil from one car oil change can contaminate one million gallons of fresh water—a year’s supply for 50 people. In this article, we will discuss the importance of proper disposal and the steps to take before disposing of used oil.

A technician in a blue uniform performs maintenance on an orange Toyota forklift. Article: How to Dispose of Used Oil.

Recycling Used Oil

Used oil can be re-refined, processed and burned, or inserted into a petroleum refinery. Used oil isn’t worn out or unusable, just dirty. 

Re-refining oil is the most environmentally beneficial option, because it prolongs the life of the oil indefinitely. Re-refining involves treating used oil to remove impurities. One gallon of used motor oil provides the same 2.5 quarts of lubricating oil as 42 gallons of crude oil.

When burned, oil provides the same amount of energy as provided by normal heating oil. Some oils can be disposed of by heaters, boilers, or burning, Never try burning oil at home.  

Used oil can also be sent to the petroleum industry, where it’s used as a feedstock into refinery production processes. 

How to Collect Used Oil for Disposal  

A technician in a blue uniform performs maintenance on a forklift. Article: How to Dispose of Used Oil.

  1. Lay down a tarp or plastic sheet under your work area. Position a proper container (such as a drip pan with a spout) on top of the tarp and underneath the oil pan to catch the oil as it drains. 
  2. Empty the filter. Oil filters also contain harmful contaminants and must be recycled properly. Before disposing of used oil, remove the oil filter from the vehicle, puncture it, and let it drain into the oil pan. Put it in a sealed bag or container. 
  3. Carefully transfer the oil from the drip pan into another container for storage. Often, the original container will be the best disposal container, but a polyethylene container will typically suffice. 
    • If any oil spills, use absorbent materials to soak it up. The best option is a commercial oil-absorbing product. For a smaller spill, you can use sawdust, clay cat litter, or coconut husks. 
    • Don’t put waste oil in milk cartons, juice containers, or other random containers. 
    • Motor oil that has mixed with other fluids isn’t recyclable. Be careful not to let oil mix with washer fluid, gasoline, antifreeze, water, or any other liquid. Make sure your storage container has never been used to store any other fluids at any point. 

How to Properly Dispose of Waste Oil

Keep your container of used oil in a cool, dry place. When storing or transporting it, make sure the container stays upright. 

Waste oil removal companies have the necessary equipment and facilities to dispose of the oil safely. The American Petroleum Institute Used Motor Oil Collection and Recycling has information about recycling centers. 

Your city may have a municipal hazardous waste facility, and you can check the website to learn what materials they accept. Many auto parts stores will also recycle used oil, filters, and oil bottles. 

Risks of Improper Disposal

Improper disposal of used motor oil can have serious negative effects on the environment and human health. Pouring oil down the drain or onto the ground can contaminate water sources, harm wildlife, and damage ecosystems.

Improper disposal can result in legal and financial consequences, such as fines and cleanup costs.


It’s crucial to properly dispose of used motor oil. Improper disposal can seriously harm the environment and human health. 

Recycling is the most eco-friendly option, but there are other alternatives. It’s best to return waste oil to a recycling facility. 

You play a crucial role in ensuring that used motor oil is disposed of properly. Let’s take action and make sure we dispose of our used motor oil responsibly to keep our environment healthy and safe for generations to come.


Hugg & Hall does not service, rent, or sell vehicles. We rent, service, sell, and provide parts for construction equipment and other large equipment.

Construction Safety Week: Jonesboro Safety Council

Construction Safety Week

Strong Voices, Safe Choices.

Employees at our Jonesboro, AR branch are taking that message seriously. In 2022, they formed a branch-wide Safety Council dedicated to discovering, reporting, and solving safety concerns. 

According to member Nicole Pfeifer, Jonesboro created the Safety Council to ensure every employee works in a safe environment every day. “Our days are very busy, so each member keeps an eye out for safety concerns. We are here for other employees to voice their concerns to, and we acknowledge employees who perform tasks using proper safety techniques.” 

At their monthly meetings, the committee discusses any safety concerns, such as certifying more employees in CPR training and increasing the number of times their oil bins are drained each month. Nicole Pfeifer said, “There have been exercises we use to encourage every employee to think ‘safety first.’ We brought in a basic first-aid and adult CPR instructor who taught a class. We also have a council member who visits our field technicians to ensure their work environment is safe. 

Jody Brittain, Jerrod Brown, Maurice Torres, Curtis Newell, Nicole Pfeifer, Kelly Goldman, Shaun Laxton. Absent: Justin Jacobs, Roger Edwards.

Every member of the Safety Council addresses all serious issues and safety violations immediately. Member Shaun Laxton said “We encourage every employee to speak up if they see something that needs to be fixed. Immediate concerns are handled right away, either by one of the members or another qualified employee. The council has made an impact on how promptly safety concerns are handled. Our team is identifying hazards and fixing them right away, and making sure daily tasks are performed with proper PPE.”

What is Construction Safety Week? 

Every year, Construction Safety Week raises awareness of the industry’s commitment to building a culture of safety. Participants share best practices, resources, and tools across the US and Canada. 

Construction Safety Week was founded by members of The Construction Safety Initiative (CSI) and the Incident & Injury Free Executive Forum (IIF). 


Interested in learning more about safety? Check out our Industry Standards page.