Tomorrow (Monday, 23 June) is the start of Rail Safety Week.  Rail Forum organises this industry-wide initiative to bring the entire rail industry together to promote the vital importance of rail safety.  Mark Finney, HSEQ Lead explains why this week is so important and shares three ways we promote a positive safety culture at SLC.

Rail Safety Week is really important to me because this is another chance for us to reinforce the importance of health, safety and wellbeing across the organisation and of course, across all our projects. It’s also a chance to celebrate what we do well as an industry and learn from others.

  1. Collaboration

We are all united by safety and are all working together under the same standards, so collaboration is common sense. We create a collaborative culture through regular safety meetings and safety tours attended by all partners on a project.  Our collaborative approach has been recognised in awards – for example, we’re managing the health and safety aspects on the West Midlands Rail Programme and this has won awards for collaboration in the Railway Innovation Awards, the Spotlight Rail Awards and was also a finalist for the Health, Safety and Wellbeing Awards at the West Midlands Construction Excellence Awards in 2022.

  1. Psychologically safe

We also put a significant emphasis on mental health and wellbeing. This ensures that our employees not only want to come to work but also enjoy the work that they are undertaking.  I’m proud that in our workplace and on our projects, we create a psychologically safe environment for people.  This means that people feel safe speaking up and addressing concerns without fear of negative repercussions – essential for creating a positive health and safety culture. Last year, we really enjoyed running an event for Women in Rail at our offices about this and were pleased to bring different parts of the industry together to look at this in more detail.

  1. Lasting impact

Safety doesn’t stop when construction stops.  Away from the construction of projects, we’re also widening our reach further through our partnership with Rail Safe Friendly.  This means that we’re getting important rail safety information into schools.  This learning is going to help encourage a younger generation to be confident and safe rail passengers of our new stations and infrastructure in the future.  I’m really pleased that our partnership will see this education being put into ten schools near where we are working on the Northumberland Line, and we will be looking to expand this into other areas in the future.