Safer Highways launches industry-wide mental health survey
Held at the House of Commons last month, the inaugural Safer Highways Mental Health Summit brought together senior representatives from government, business and academia from across the national Highways sector to launch the first industry-wide ‘Thriving at Work’ Mental Health Survey.
The invitation-only one-day summit also acted as the launch pad for a new industry-wide ‘Road to Better Wellbeing’ strategy, designed to increase the awareness of wellbeing and mental health across the sector irrespective of the size of organisation.
As part of the strategy, highways firms are to be asked to take part in a major questionnaire on the issue, which will be followed by further analysis next year.
The keynote presentation at the event was given by Lord Dennis Stevenson, co-author of the government’s ‘Thriving at Work’ report which examined mental health within the workplace in the UK.
Also speaking at the event were Dawn Moore, HR Director for Morgan Sindall; Clare Forshaw, Health and Hygiene Partner for Park HS and Martin Coyd, Health and Safety Director of Mace.
Karl Simons, Chief Health, Safety & Security Officer at Thames Water and Chair of the event, explained: “As a Client organisation that employs several thousand workers out on the public highway every day it’s vitally important we and other major employers set the tone about the importance of mental health within business and also share the work we have done over the years to create a more inclusive culture of care that enables everyone to thrive whilst at work.
“This was a super afternoon, kicked off by everyone listening to Lord Dennis Stevenson the co-author of the Prime Ministers review into mental health within business and it’s always fascinating and insightful listening to Dennis speak about the work that went into the report, the outcomes seen and the impact it has and continues to have across the country.
“The Thriving at Work survey will now be sent to 500 client, design and contracting organisations working nationally across the entire Highways sector, each of which employs over 250 employees.
“The Survey is built around the 10 ‘Core’ and ‘Enhanced’ Standards asking each of the questions to establish what steps each company has taken since its launch 18 months ago and ultimately gain a collective national industry position.”
Safer Highways Chief Operating Officer, Kevin Robinson, added: “I am extremely proud to be a part in becoming the first sector to take the amazing work of the Thriving at Work report and effectively use its recommendations as a way of helping our industry to develop ways of improving the mental state of those we put to work.
“Collectively we estimate that the highways sector, through principal and tertiary contractors, employs almost a quarter of a million people, most of whom are men. We know that statistically, one in four men, will suffer some form of mental illness in their lives, most probably during their working lives too. By enabling employers to understand what they are not only doing but most importantly doing right, we will, in time build a culture of top-down change.
“Our survey is just the first part of this process, but the phenomenal support we have seen today shows me that we have a collective desire to do more. We can do this through this programme, starting with the survey. All we ask is that companies fill it out in an open and honest way, don’t be afraid to answer no to a question, it is not a failing but instead offers you an opportunity to see an area you can be better. Only by doing this can we make our industry a better place to work.”
For more information, the following document was launched at the event.
Where is the workplace mental health agenda headed?
Karl Simons will be speaking on SHP’s next webinar, which takes place on Monday 29 July, from 11:00am to 12:00noon.
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Upcoming webinar: Mental health & wellbeing in the workplace
Monday 29th July - 11:00-12:00 - Register now
Where is the workplace mental health agenda headed - and how can a nutritional diet at work improve productivity? Register now for SHP's upcoming webinar to find out.
Join Karl Simons, Chief Health, Safety & Security Officer, Thames Water; Kendelle Tekstar, Senior Product Manager, Acre Frameworks; and Catherine Attfield, Head of Nutrition and Wellbeing at Artizian. You'll hear everything from the law around mental health in the workplace and how to spot wellbeing talent, to practical tips for improving culture and reducing stigma you can apply to your own organisation.