The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) is urging everyone in the rail industry to be alert to colleagues who may be struggling, with Rail R U OK?Day events being held across the country today.

ARA Chief Executive Officer Caroline Wilkie said Rail R U OK?Day was a great opportunity to learn how to better support workmates and foster wellbeing in the workplace.

“I am really proud of the fact that the rail industry so strongly supports such an important day, with this being the only industry-specific R U OK? day of action,” Ms Wilkie said.

“This year’s theme, “Ask Are you OK – no qualifications needed” highlights the fact that you do not need to be an expert to provide what could possibly be life-saving support to a workmate.”

Ms Wilkie, who is also a Director of the TrackSAFE Foundation, said Rail R U OK?Day is now in its ninth year, with more than 140 organisations and more than 120,000 rail workers across Australia and New Zealand taking part in 2023.

The ARA will be joining virtual meet ups, morning teas, information sessions and other events across Australia in support of the day.

“The ARA team will be meeting with members at a range of events to discuss how to best support others in the workplace,” Ms Wilkie said.

“No one is immune to difficult times and knowing how to start an R U OK? conversation with someone who is struggling can make a real difference.”

Rail R U OK? Day is a joint initiative of the TrackSAFE Foundation and R U OK?

Ms Wilkie said a range of resources were available to help both employees and employers understand how to better support colleagues.

“The resources available offer a valuable guide to ensure that anyone can have an R U OK? conversation and be prepared to offer support if someone raises concerns,” Ms Wilkie said.

People are encouraged to have an R U OK? conversation by following four steps:

  • Ask R U OK?, encouraging someone to open up if you have concerns
  • Listen with an open mind, taking what they say seriously and encouraging them to explain
  • Encourage action, including steps they can take themselves and how you can support them
  • Check in within the next couple of weeks and sooner if they are really struggling.

Additional resources to help organisations keep the conversation going throughout the year as part of their broader safety and wellbeing focus are also provided.

“Offering genuine support and having meaningful conversations help create stronger, more resilient and safer workplaces and, in some cases, have the potential to change lives,” Ms Wilkie said.

“Today is a great reminder that R U OK? conversations are an important part of our lives at work not just today, but throughout the year.

“I’d like to take the opportunity today to encourage everyone in the rail industry to take the time to ask a workmate how they are doing – and to start making it a regular practice.”

For more information and resources, including a conversation booklet, go to the TrackSAFE Foundation website.

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