A third of highways sector not tackling mental ill health
17th December 2019
The Thriving at Work Mental Health Survey Report, published last month by Safer Highways, has revealed that just five of the 100 organisations that have completed its benchmarking exercise since the survey's launch in June 2019 are working towards meeting any of the ten standards set out in the Thriving at Work Report. Only four are meeting one.
The independent review, published in 2017 and led by Lord Dennis Stevenson and Paul Farmer, chair of the National Health Service (NHS) Mental Health Taskforce, found that poor mental health costs employers up to £42bn a year with an annual cost to the UK economy of £99bn.
The review set out a framework for all UK employers, regardless of their size or industry, to improve workplace mental health. These 'core standards' are:
implement a mental health at work plan;
develop mental health awareness among employees;
encourage open conversations about mental health and available support;
provide good working conditions and ensure employees have a healthy work-life balance;
promote effective people management through line managers and supervisors and monitor employee mental health and wellbeing;
increase transparency and accountability through internal and external reporting;
improve the disclosure process; and
ensure provision of tailored in-house mental health support and signposting to clinical help.
The survey also found that 31% of respondents do not have a mental health strategy in place, while almost a fifth admitted to not providing employees with good working conditions to ensure they have a healthy work-life balance.
A third of participants said their organisation does not have a health and wellbeing lead at board or senior leadership level.
Collectively the highways sector, through principal and tertiary contractors, employs almost a quarter of a million people -- most of whom are men. Statistically, one-in-four men will suffer some form of mental illness in their lives.