Thursday 29 Oct 2020
More than 9000 sign up to Rail Wellbeing Live -the rail industry's largest ever health and wellbeing event
- Rail Wellbeing Live on 4th & 5th November is set to improve mental and physical health across the industry
- 600+ organisations involved so far
- More than 140 speakers and 80 pick ‘n’ mix sessions across the two-day virtual event.
With less than a week to go more than 9,000 people have now signed up to Rail Wellbeing Live - the largest event ever dedicated to health and wellbeing in the industry.
People from more than 600 organisations have signed up to the two-day virtual gathering on November 4th and 5th to improve wellbeing across the 240,000-strong UK rail workforce, where suicides are among the highest in the UK workforce at 1.6 times the national average.
Mental health advocate and entertainer Ruby Wax, BBC Breakfast's resident doctor Dr Rangan Chatterjee and Embarrassing Bodies star Dr Dawn Harper are among the health and wellbeing speakers to star at this year's inaugural Rail Wellbeing Live.
Ill-health in the rail industry is estimated to cost £790m per year with a 3.9% absence rate more than double the private sector average. Poor mental health overall costs the UK economy £35bn per year. And this year, the British Medical Association have said COVID-19 could have considerable consequences on people’s mental health.
In the past few years, efforts have been made by the industry to address this with more research into mental health and more investment into occupational health services. For example, last year the RSSB launched the ‘With You In Mind’ employment service, giving employees easy access to 1-2-1s with mental health experts.
John Halsall, chair of the Rail Wellbeing Alliance and managing director for Network Rail’s Southern Region, said: “We’re delighted that almost 9,000 people will be joining next week, but with 250,000 across the industry there are so many more people who could benefit from all the amazing free content we have to offer, so if you haven’t then please do sign up today.
“We know from surveys that some 60% of our workers have experienced mental health issues at some point, and with the ongoing uncertainty around COVID-19, there’s never been a more important to look after ourselves and our colleagues.
“Rail Wellbeing Live is about starting a conversation and encouraging everyone to share and talk about issues relating to health, creating an irresistible energy across the industry that will make it safer and better for all of us.”
Rail Wellbeing Live has been set-up by the by the Rail Wellbeing Alliance, a cross industry group with the involvement of dozens of train operating companies, suppliers and bodies. Seven topic areas are being covered at the event each with their own speakers and panel discussions which subscribers can participate in. They cover Healthy Behaviours, Occupational Health, Mental Health, Occupational Hygiene, Fatigue, Health & Wellbeing in Business and Musculoskeletal Disorders. The industry has already committed to continuing the event on an annual basis. Other key speakers at Rail Wellbeing Live include entrepreneur Carole Spiers, the 'Sleep Scientist' Dr Sophie Bostock, nutritionist Nicki Williams and pain expert Lorimer Moseley.
Dean Barnes (37) and Alan (Al) Collis (35) work for the Greater Anglia train company out of Ipswich. Dean is a driver and Al is a conductor. Dean had reached around 16.5 stone and Al 20.5 stone in weight. They found they were putting on more weight following Covid-19 as they became less busy at work. Together they decided they needed to lose weight, so they started a YouTube and Twitter channel where they would talk about their issues with weight and how they were going to lose it.
Since August, Dean and Al have been using their videos to motivate themselves, and set challenges like meal plans, running 60 miles in a month and testing apps and technology aimed at helping them keep fit. They’re 11 weeks into a 52-week plan during which they hope to shed at least 3 stone each. They are supporting Rail Wellbeing Live.
Dean said: “Driving a train can be lonely, which is partly why I eat a lot at work. We’ve both got families and we decided we needed to lose fat and get fitter but finding a way of doing it where we wouldn’t fail like we had in the past so many times. The YouTube channel was really Al’s idea and is our way of getting motivated and keeping us accountable to losing weight and so far, fingers crossed, it seems to be working. We fully support Rail Wellbeing Live, especially during these trying times with Covid and I hope our example inspires others to talk about the physical and mental issues which affect them”.
Notes to Editors
The top 5 sessions which have been signed up to so far are:
- Ruby Wax on drefrazzling your mind – 2,167
- Dr Rangan Chatterjee on fitting wellbeing into a busy life – 1,646
- Nutrition for sleep, fatigue and shift work – 1,409
- Sleep expert Dr Sophie Bostock – 1,353
- Andy Cope, a doctor of happiness – 1,224
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We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.