Rail industry news (Australia, New Zealand), Award conferences, Freight Rail, Rail industry events, Social Governance and Inclusion

Pacific National lauded for R U OK? culture

Australia’s largest private freight rail operator, Pacific National, has taken out the TrackSAFE Foundation’s ‘Recognising R U OK? Conversations’ category at the Australasian Rail Industry (ARI) Awards in Melbourne.

The accolade acknowledges the important contribution Pacific National’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy plays in underpinning its R U OK? culture and encouraging meaningful conversations every day of the year.

Pacific National secured the award from other worthy finalists in the category, including McConnell Dowell Constructions, Metro Trains Melbourne, North Western Program Alliance and V/Line, with each demonstrating how Rail R U OK? formed part of their approach to employee wellbeing.

Rail was the first industry to have its own dedicated R U OK?Day, and Rail RU OK? has become a core aspect of wellbeing programs across the rail sector year-round.

This year saw more than 135 organisations and 120,000 employees involved in Rail R U OK? activities across Australia and New Zealand.

TrackSAFE Foundation executive director Heather Neil said Rail R U OK? has grown to become more than just a day, and rail organisations nationwide now included Rail R U OK? activities as part of their year-round wellbeing initiatives.

“Research shows that participation in Rail R U OK? encourages meaningful, ongoing conversations in the workplace, helping to create a stronger, safer and more supportive rail industry,” she said.

“We’re delighted to recognise Pacific National’s efforts in creating opportunities for genuine conversations year-round with their workforce.

“We know the positive impact an R U OK? conversation have when people know and trust each other. This usually means that trust has been built over time, they’re familiar with each other’s routines and behaviours, and they likely know what’s going on in each other’s lives. That’s why the R U OK? message can be so effective in the workplace.”

“This trust, along with consideration of the where and when a conversation will take place contributes to making an R U OK? conversation truly meaningful.”

Pacific National chief executive Paul Scurrah said the achievement not only celebrated its dedication to mental health and wellbeing, but also highlighted the successes it had in creating a stronger and safer workplace for the people in the areas it lived, worked and railed.

“At Pacific National, we firmly believe in the power of R U OK? conversations, and the positive impact they can have on our workforce. By fostering meaningful interactions and promoting mental health awareness, we live our philosophy by demonstrating that We Care More,” he said.

“With more than 3500 employees at terminals, depots and sites across mainland Australia, Pacific National has been running a peer support program for a number of years. Our Peer Connect initiative is designed to promote mental health awareness and foster a peer-to-peer support network. Our Peer Connect Champions serve as vital points of contact for employees seeking support.

“We strive to bring awareness to the R U OK? conversation every day and recognise Rail R U OK?Day and R U OK?Day each year. Additionally, through branding R U OK? on some of our locomotives, we aspire to connect and encourage people in our communities to start a conversation and check in on each other.

“Winning this award reflects our dedication to mental health and wellbeing and highlights the success Pacific National has seen in creating a stronger and safer workplace for our people”.