Safety Forum: Mental Wellbeing and Suicide Prevention in the Construction Industry
With rising alarm, mental health and suicide have become a crisis in the construction industry. Join us for an interactive session with speakers representing owners, contractors, and trade organizations. Creating a culture of caring and support is imperative for all of us.
The program’s topics will include both contractor’s and owner’s perspectives on the importance of mental health initiatives in the trades; mitigating barriers and stigma which prevent workers from asking for help, and best practices implemented locally and nationally to address this crisis.
Brandon Shortt has worked in the industrial, construction, and utility industries for over 25 years, specializing in operations, maintenance, and safety. He currently works for Ameren/IBEW 1439 as a Safety Blue Hat. This is a liaison between management and contract personnel championing safety and work practices throughout the company in the field.
Chuck Twellmann serves as a Manager of Transmission Construction for the Ameren Corporation, headquartered in St. Louis MO. Specifically he leads a team focused on pre-construction, constructability, and quality for high voltage electric transmission projects for Ameren. While in this role, he as continued his passion for safety helping develop and leading several safety initiatives to drive towards zero unsafe acts and increase safety awareness. Chuck holds a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Missouri, Columbia, a master’s degree in Engineering Management from the University of Missouri, Rolla, and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Liberty University. Additionally, he is a registered professional engineer in the state of Missouri, a certified Project Management Professional and a member of the SLC3 Safety Committee. While not at work, Chuck enjoys spending time with his wife Amy and four children Tyler, Madyson, Paige, and Luke on their small farm outside beautiful Moscow Mills, MO.
Ricky Reams serves as the Vice President of Safety and Quality for Murphy Company and has over 25 Years’ experience as a safety professional and consultant in a variety of industries in both the public and private Sectors. Mr. Reams was recently awarded 2022 Safety Professional of the Year award from the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA) and was given the 2022 Safety Professional of the Year (SPY) Award from the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP). Mr. Reams serves on the National Mental Health & Suicide Prevention Task Force and regularly promotes and presents on Mental Wellbeing and Suicide Prevention throughout the construction industry. He has served as the President of the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) St. Lous Chapter and is an active member of several other local and national safety boards and committees including the American General Contractors (AGC), the American Subcontractors Association (ASA), the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA), the St. Louis Council of Construction Consumers (SLC3), the Association of Union Contractors (TAUC), the National Association of Construction Boilermaker Employers (NACBE), and The Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association (SMACNA).
Brandon Anderson, Vice President of Safety at AGC of Missouri, has 27 years of experience in construction holding various positions from leadership to senior safety and senior employee development specialist. Mr. Anderson is a lifelong construction safety professional/advocate with a focus on total worker wellbeing; Mental Health, Suicide and Substance Misuse in construction. His passion and personal experience runs deep; his impact is recognized throughout the Midwest and Nationally. The construction industry is one of the best industries to work in; with some of the best individuals making up the industry. While being a part of industry is very rewarding, it has been taboo to talk about what is responsible for taking the lives at a higher rate than anything else in the construction industry–suicide. Taking in to account the historical demographics of the industry, it’s no wonder there has been a stigma that we can’t talk about what’s troubling us; our feelings. AGCMO has been working for years to break that stigma, by having the courage and compassion through education and training to elevate the conversation. Our focus is to educate the industry; identifying warning signs, how to listen, how to respond and identifying resources available to the work force. All the while spreading the message of “Hope” and that “You Are Not Alone”.