Rail employees across Australia and NZ have championed a stronger and more supportive industry by asking: "Are you OK?"
Trusting your gut instinct and starting a genuine conversation with a workmate who doesn’t seem themselves can be life-changing, according to Katherine Newton, R U OK? CEO.
Newton’s comments come as rail employees across Australia and New Zealand have spent Thursday 11, April championing a stronger and more supportive industry by asking, “Are you OK?”.
The idea of Rail R U OK?Day is to inspire rail employees to look out for one another during life's ups and downs by asking "Are you OK?" and really listening to the answer.
Since the annual event began in 2015 the numbers participating have grown from around 6,500 to well over 50,000 this year.
“With participation in Rail R U OK? Day having grown by almost 700% since the inaugural event in 2015, rail employees from across Australia and New Zealand are transforming their workplaces into strong and resilient environments every day of the year,” said Newton.
Partnering on this initiative are suicide and harm prevention charities R U OK? and the TrackSAFE Foundation.
In the eight-week lead up to Rail R U OK?Day, TrackSAFE and R U OK? sent ‘Quentin’, an interactive digital question mark on a relay-styled trip travelling every state and territory and across New Zealand.
Quentin issues educational and informative challenges to encourage conversations between workmates and will complete his cross-country trek at Sydney Trains on Rail R U OK?Day.
Bob Herbert, TrackSAFE Foundation Chairman, said the Rail R U OK?Day initiative is the largest initiative celebrated by rail and is helping to foster genuinely supportive workplaces across the industry.
“Due to the nature of roles in the industry, some workers could potentially be exposed to traumatic incidents. And these incidents can have lasting effects,” said Herbert.
“Not only this, we’re all exposed to life’s ups and downs so we want to empower rail employees to deal with confronting challenges that might be thrown their way.
“Rail R U OK?Day equips rail employees with the tools to reach out and connect with each other in a meaningful way.”
Herbert added that he keeps hearing numerous anecdotal accounts whereby a rail employee has trusted their instincts and noticed the signs that someone near them has been struggling. Herbert said he is “thrilled’ to learn that they have started a conversation that has put that person on a whole new path.
“We place so much importance on this major initiative for this very reason and we’re so proud to see Rail R U OK?Day keep on growing year on year.”