Greg Sizemore, ABC’s vice president of health, safety, environment and workforce development and vice chair of the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention, spoke on a panel at the Construction Leadership Network Conference last week in Houston to discuss substance abuse and the rise of suicide in the construction industry.

“I feel like most people particularly in construction avoid the topic because they’re uncomfortable with it and don’t know what to do, but avoiding suicide and substance abuse is not going to solve anything,” said Sizemore. “We can’t expect employees to simply leave life’s issues at the gate or when they put their hard hat on.”

Sizemore wanted people to understand that substance abuse and suicide affect everyone around them, beyond coworkers and immediate family members. He also wanted people to leave the discussion knowing it was up to them to change their paradigm, find out what they can do, and potentially save someone’s life.

“We need to take the time to make sure all employees are safe physically and mentally and have honest conversations,” he said. “However, there’s a lot work to do. We need to educate people about the risks and give them the tools to assist those who need it. Mental health must be addressed now for the sake of our current workforce and the workforce of the future.”

To learn more about the Construction Leadership Network and the conference, visit