In light of the alarming increase in suicide rates across the UK, INFRA Skills is dedicated to supporting World Suicide Prevention Day. This annual awareness day aims to destigmatize suicide, provide crucial support, and ultimately save lives. With a focus on rail suicide prevention, INFRA Skills, in collaboration with industry partners, is implementing various initiatives to address this pressing issue.
The Rising Suicide Rates and Rail Suicides
According to a recent report by the Samaritans, the UK witnessed a distressing 11.8% rise in suicides in 2018, totaling 6,859 cases. Notably, railway incidents accounted for 4.5% of these suicides, underscoring the urgent need for effective interventions. Although previous campaigns such as the Samaritans’ “Small Talk Saves Lives” showed initial positive impact, rail suicides rose to 249 occurrences in 2017/2018.
Addressing the Factors Contributing to Suicide
Several factors, including mental health problems, deprivation, unemployment, and social deprivation, can contribute to suicide. RSS Infrastructure Ltd (RSSI) and INFRA Skills Ltd are proactively implementing measures to minimize the negative impact of the work environment on individuals. Fatigue, resulting from long working hours, can compromise performance, safety, and overall well-being. RSSI employs a fatigue monitoring system to ensure workers’ safety, flagging concerns related to excessive travel or shift duration.
Exploring the Correlation between Sleep, Fatigue, and Shift Work
To better understand the correlation between sleep, fatigue, and shift work, Auctus Management Group Ltd (AMG) collaborates with Oxford University, Liminal Space, Welcome Trust, and Network Rail. This joint project investigates various aspects, including sleep monitoring devices, nutrition, hydration, and the effects of shift work on workers and their families.
Enhancing Safety Measures
RSSI has prioritized worker transportation safety by adopting a specialized Driver Awareness Warning System (DAWS). Utilizing dash-mounted devices that focus on drivers’ retinas and blinking patterns, this system detects signs of drowsiness, fatigue, or distraction, issuing audible warnings to ensure driver alertness on the road.
The INFRA Family’s Wellbeing Network
Within the INFRA Family, a dedicated Wellbeing Network has been established. Volunteers from the companies undergo Mental Health First Aid training to enhance their understanding of mental health issues, available support, and self-help strategies. Equipped with first aid skills for supporting individuals experiencing mental distress, these “Wellbeing Champions” regularly meet to drive awareness and provide crucial support.
A.D.V.I.C.E.: A Dedicated Voice for Inclusive Collaboration by Everyone
Recognizing a shortage of accurate information for workers and their families, AMG created A.D.V.I.C.E. This collaboration between several associates in the rail and construction sector aims to reach a broader audience. Under the A.D.V.I.C.E banner, each company produces information and instructions on various topics, including gambling addiction, cervical cancer, and musculoskeletal health.
Establishing a Traumatic Incident Plan and Support Network
AMG has developed a Traumatic Incident Planthat ensures sufficient resources are available to employees, promoting awareness of normal reactions to potentially traumatic incidents. Wellbeing champions and the safety council form a support network to embed principles of watchful waiting throughout the business.
While public interventions of rail suicides have increased by 20%, the number of rail suicides remains alarmingly high. Initiatives such as RSS’s Traumatic Incident Plan and Wellbeing Network play a vital role in the nationwide campaign to reduce premature deaths by suicide. For more information and safe avenues to seek advice, helplines like Samaritans, MIND, and SANE are available.
For more information, or for a safe way to seek advice there are many helplines available.
08457 90 90 90
08457 660 163
0300 304 7000