With Rail Wellbeing Live taking place next week, more than 9,000 people have now signed up, making the event the largest ever dedicated to health and wellbeing in the industry.
People from more than 600 organisations have signed up to the two-day virtual event on November 4th and 5th.
The event hopes to increase wellbeing across the 240,000 strong UK rail workforce, where suicides are among the highest in the UK workforce at 1.6 times the national average.
Mental health advocate and entertainer Ruby Wax, BBC Breakfast's resident doctor Dr Rangan Chatterjee and Embarrassing Bodies star Dr Dawn Harper are amongst the health and wellbeing speakers to star at this year's opening event.
Poor-health in the rail industry is estimated to cost £790m per year with a 3.9% absence rate more than double the private sector average.
Poor mental health in total costs the UK economy £35bn per year.
And this year, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the British Medical Association have said it will have significant consequences on people’s mental health.
Over the past few years, efforts have been made by the industry to address this with more research into mental health and more investment into occupational health services.
For example, last year the RSSB launched the ‘With You in Mind’ employment service, giving employees easy access to 1-2-1s with mental health advisors.
Seven topic areas are being covered at the event each with their own speakers and panel discussions which subscribers can participate in.
They cover Healthy Behaviours, Occupational Health, Mental Health, Occupational Hygiene, Fatigue, Health & Wellbeing in Business and Musculoskeletal Disorders. The industry has already committed to continuing the event on an annual basis.
Chair of the Rail Wellbeing Alliance and Managing Director for Network Rail’s Southern Region, John Halsall, said: “We’re delighted that almost 9,000 people will be joining next week, but with 250,000 across the industry there are so many more people who could benefit from all the amazing free content we have to offer, so if you haven’t then please do sign up today.
“We know from surveys that some 60% of our workers have experienced mental health issues at some point, and with the ongoing uncertainty around COVID-19, there’s never been a more important to look after ourselves and our colleagues.
“Rail Wellbeing Live is about starting a conversation and encouraging everyone to share and talk about issues relating to health, creating an irresistible energy across the industry that will make it safer and better for all of us.”
Image: Network Rail