In the UK, more than 6,000 people die by suicide each year, averaging 18 a day. Recognising the potential for prevention, RSS Infrastructure, a leading infrastructure services provider, and INFRA Skills, the UK’s premier safety and non-safety critical training provider, have collaborated to address fatigue and enhance working conditions. They are partnering with the International Association for Suicide Prevention and the World Health Organisation as part of ‘World Suicide Prevention Day’ to destigmatise mental health and suicide, promoting open discussions under the banner, ‘It’s OK to Talk’.
The Suicide Rate and Workplace Challenges
According to the Office for National Statistics, male labourers face a suicide rate three times higher than the national average for men. Research suggests that long hours, low pay, and a lack of job security contribute to this issue. Men often hesitate to discuss their problems due to fear of judgment from peers. It is crucial to create a safe work environment where individuals can openly talk about their feelings and receive support.
Initiatives for Wellbeing
RSS Infrastructure has implemented a range of initiatives to mitigate the negative impact of the workplace on individuals. They use a fatigue monitoring system that considers travel time, shift duration, and work type during rostering. Any concerns regarding excessive travel or long shifts are flagged, ensuring workers are not scheduled unless proper measures like local accommodation are in place to ensure safety. Additionally, RSS employs a specialist Driver Awareness Warning System (DAWS) in the rail sector to enhance transportation safety. The company also ensures that all salaries exceed the national minimum wage and provides full mandatory PPE.
Mental Health Support
RSS Infrastructure Ltd is dedicated to supporting those involved in or witnessing traumatic incidents, recognising the increased risk of developing mental health conditions. A Wellbeing Network is in the works, where company volunteers will complete mental health first aid training and meet regularly to discuss initiatives and support. A Traumatic Incident Plan is already in place to provide resources and awareness for employees, including wellbeing champions and the safety council.
Collaboration for Suicide Prevention
RSS Infrastructure and INFRA Skills complement Network Rail’s efforts in reducing rail suicides, including ‘Intervention Training’ for railway staff. Coaching staff on identifying and supporting potentially suicidal individuals has resulted in an 18% decrease in rail suicides over the past two years, demonstrating the effectiveness of support mechanisms like RSS’s Traumatic Incident Plan.
For more information or to seek advice safely, consider these helplines: