HS2

12.10.16

Breaking down mental health barriers

Chris LangerChris Langer, scheme intelligence manager at CIRAS, on the link between mental health, safety and confidential reporting.

When the CIRAS hotline rings, and we speak to a reporter with a safety concern, very often much of what they say is underpinned by an anxious state of mind that may stretch far beyond their presenting concern. 

In other words, they may be anxious that if their safety concern is left unaddressed it will affect their mental health. It is not uncommon for a reporter to feel they may be involved in an accident. For example, it could be driving home from a work site after being awake for more than 24 hours that makes them afraid or working without having received a proper safety briefing. 

It is natural to be afraid in these circumstances. If we don’t feel safe, we are unlikely to feel any sense of wellbeing. The potential for an accident at work will weigh heavily on our reporters’ minds – and with good reason. Their motivation to report to CIRAS is to protect themselves and their colleagues from injury, both physically and psychologically. 

The concern with mental health issues can, however, be more than just the psychological background to a safety concern. Recently, we have taken reports which highlight the perceived lack of organisational support for mental health issues.  Sometimes, it is difficult to tease out what the reason is for this perception. Some organisations have a range of support options for their employees. And yet, an employee may still feel anxious, depressed or isolated. It is in everyone’s interests to see individuals fully engaged and working as safely as possible, whatever the perceived causes of a lack of support. 

Offering effective organisational support is only the first stage. The second stage requires a kind of reaching out from both the employer and employee. This can bridge the gap between both parties to ensure that an individual not only knows where help can be received, but can make the connection to receive it. Asking for help is not as easy as it may appear, especially if you are suffering or are in distress in the first place. 

We will be discussing the background to these issues, and possible solutions, in an IOSH webinar called ‘The Link between Mental Health, Safety and Confidential Reporting’. The webinar will be held on Wednesday 19 October, starting at 12.30pm. I will be presenting alongside Aimee Skelly-Burgess, Occupational Health and Safety Advisor, at CIRAS. It is free to attend, but you will need to register online in order to book onto the event. You will be sent an email with all of the necessary details once you have registered. We hope you can join us.

We are aiming to break down the stigma of mental health in the transport industry. We will be covering following.

  • Statistics on mental health
  • The consequences of suffering from stress and anxiety
  • Potential negative effects on performance at work
  • Potential solutions, such as mindfulness exercises and talking to external parties

To register for the webinar, click here.

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here.

Comments

Colin Murray   14/10/2016 at 13:55

from a track worker safety point of view, not a sensible photo to use, several operational rules being broken

Add your comment

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

New Network Rail chief executive announced

21/05/2018New Network Rail chief executive announced

Network Rail has announced that Andrew Haines OBE will become its new chief executive. After leaving his current post as a board member and ... more >
TfL takes over Heathrow Connect services in Elizabeth line milestone

21/05/2018TfL takes over Heathrow Connect services in Elizabeth line milestone

Transport for London (TfL) has taken over the Heathrow Connect services between Paddington and Heathrow terminals 2/3 and 4. The service was tak... more >
NR starts £9.5m flood defence scheme

21/05/2018NR starts £9.5m flood defence scheme

Network Rail has commenced work on a £9.5m flood defence scheme in the south west. The scheme, which will protect the railway line between... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

How biometrics can help improve health and safety measures on railway construction projects

20/03/2018How biometrics can help improve health and safety measures on railway construction projects

ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE Biometric identity, time and attendance specialists Donseed looks at how biometric technology is already starting to enhance health and safety measures on railway construction projects. Advances in technology are starting to transform the way in which the rail network in the UK is managed, operated and maintained.... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Rail: A woman’s world

18/05/2018Rail: A woman’s world

RTM’s Sacha Rowlands reports from a panel debate where six of the industry’s leading figures convened to discuss the fundamental issu... more >
Gordon Wakeford: The rail industrial revolution

18/05/2018Gordon Wakeford: The rail industrial revolution

Gordon Wakeford, managing director of the Siemens Mobility Division, explains how the company plans to make Yorkshire the base for the new U... more >
A year of change for the north

18/05/2018A year of change for the north

Achieving statutory status represents a landmark moment for northern transport and will have an enormous impact on what be achieved over the comi... more >
Make way for the D-Train

15/05/2018Make way for the D-Train

Adrian Shooter, chairman of Vivarail and former chairman of Chiltern Railways, provides an exclusive update on D-Train technology and talks about... more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Transforming travel in the north west

06/02/2018Transforming travel in the north west

RTM’s Josh Mines talks to Robin Davis, head of new trains at TransPennine Express (TPE), about the huge rolling stock change journey the co... more >