Rail industry employees across Australia and New Zealand are creating a conversation movement by asking each other, “Are you ok?” on April 12, the fourth annual Rail R U OK?Day.
The initiative is a joint effort of suicide and harm prevention charities R U OK? and the TrackSAFE Foundation.
“Through the initiative Rail R U OK?Day we are helping rail industry workers feel safe and genuinely supported at work,” TrackSAFE chairman Bob Herbert AM said.
“Due to the nature of the roles in the rail industry, there are some workers who could potentially be exposed to traumatic incidents as part of their jobs.
“The Rail R U OK?Day initiative is aimed at helping rail employees deal with these confronting challenges they may face at work, (along with life’s challenges) and connecting in a meaningful way to co-workers. There’s a real difference between small talk and genuinely asking the question of a workmate, ‘are you really ok?’”
TrackSAFE and R U OK? are working to equip rail workers with the skills to recognise when someone might be struggling, and strategies to employ support for their workmates. R U OK?’s four steps to starting a conversation – ask, listen, encourage action, and check in – are a key part of this.
This year TrackSAFE has added to this initiative by introducing Mental Health First Aid training.
“By introducing Mental Health First Aid training specifically for the rail industry we’re working to encourage more and more rail employees to recognise the signs that someone might be doing it tough and to check in on those they are concerned about,” Herbert said.
Over the last eight weeks, an interactive digital question mark named ‘Quentin’ has been sent on a relay-style trip across every state and territory via rail.
Quentin issues educational and informative challenges, and completed his cross-country trek at Metro Trains Melbourne on Rail R U OK?Day.
In addition to this, R U OK? branded locomotives, courtesy of Pacific National and Aurizon will act as visual reminders to Australians to join the conversation movement by checking in with friends and loved ones, as they pass through cities and regional towns in Western Australia and Queensland.
R U OK? chief executive Brendan Maher said his charity’s continued collaboration with TrackSAFE was crucial for workers who are often faced with work related stressors, and need additional support.
“In our fourth year now, we believe we are embedding strategies to assist rail workers when they are faced with challenges, and this initiative is one we are extremely proud of,” Maher said.