The International Stress Awareness annual event which was established in 1998 was created to help provide support and resources for employees and organisations to efficiently manage stress within the workplace. Work-related stress in the Rail Industry is a health concern that left untreated can cause illness, and increase human errors, all of which can add costs and further burdens onto employers. The TUC biennial survey ranked stress first (63%) in the top five hazards of concern within the transport sector. The urgent care for the psychological wellbeing of rail workers has catapulted organisations to create initiatives which address to improve mental health and wellbeing. For example rssb.co.uk have produced specific guidelines and free resource packs for the industry which aim to build employee engagement and to develop good practice case studies on stress risk assessments. This is a step in the right direction from an industry body which aims to provide a safer, better railway whilst encouraging more participation in setting up preventive measures and useful stress coping mechanisms.
Indeed stress.org.uk cited that as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic
- 8.5 million adults and 1.5 million children and young people in England will require support for mental health issues as a direct result of the pandemic
- 65% of adults in the UK feel more stressed than ever as a result of COVID 19
- 17% of the adult population in Great Britain experienced some form of depression during summer 2021 – a 10% rise on pre-pandemic levels.
Statistically it is clear that the Rail Industry needs further support as they are faced with unique risk factors such as long hours, shift working and exposure to traumatic events like suicide or train accidents, all of which can result in feelings of isolation and work burnout. Rail staff are essential key workers to the rail industry and help to transport billions of passengers each year, whilst also ensuring that the railway infrastructure systems operate safely. This further emphasises the responsibilities in the rail sector as having a work environment with accessible stress relieving solutions and adequate risk assessments in place. Something which the SigTech Rail team take very seriously indeed.