Monday, 18 February 2019

Making employee mental health a priority

DP World Southampton has signed a pledge to make the mental health of its staff as important as their physical wellbeing.
The Time for Change Time to Talk pledge was signed on 13th February 2019 by Port Operations Director, Steve McCrindle and Unite Union Representative, Steve Biggs in front of colleagues who support the cause.

The aim is to raise awareness; help everyone feel they can talk openly about mental health; provide advice on how to look after their mental health; and to signpost staff to sources of help and support.
DP World Southampton sponsors an employee-assistance programme, run by Health Assured, which provides its staff with support for personal issues, including a free counselling service for staff and their families.
The company has also made mental health awareness part of their Safety and Skills training days and introduced wellbeing champions who can encourage colleagues to have a conversation about mental health and to let them know that “it’s ok not to be ok”.

Steve McCrindle, Port Operations Director, DP World Southampton said:

“The wellbeing of our staff is not just limited to their physical health and safety on the terminal. By signing this pledge DP World Southampton wants to help raise awareness of this hidden illness and make sure that any member of staff who is facing these problems feels supported."


Mental health issues are not being properly addressed in ports – that’s the message from ex-workers and specialists in an exclusive Port Strategy feature.

Port workers, speaking to PS on condition of anonymity, paint a picture of a workload that is too high in a male-dominated industry where admitting to mental health issues is viewed as a weakness.

Richard Steele, chief executive of Port Skills and Safety, the UK’s professional ports health and safety membership organisation, views positive mental health as an area of opportunity for the ports sector, adding that mental health is an area that can have a real impact on the sector’s health and safety.

“People who are experiencing mental ill health are less likely to make the best judgements and decisions,” he said. “That then can have an effect on their risk taking.”

Colin Bassam, manager at Port Training Services, added that while there is a welcome societal focus on mental wellbeing and opening up about issues, in the ports industry - which is still “very macho” - stigma remains.

“As a port, we spend millions or thousands servicing a crane: changing its oil, giving it a good check-over before it starts … but nobody focuses on the operator,” he said. “What have they been through that night before? They need to do a pre-start check on them.”

Read the full feature first – request your free copy of the March issue here.

Port Strategy. Insight for marine technology professionals


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