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Reasonable adjustments and mental wellbeing in the railway

Managing work when you are struggling with mental health difficulties can be hard. At the same time good work can have a positive impact on mental health, contributing to recovery. Exploring and implementing workplace adjustments may be key to increasing a worker’s ability to manage mental health difficulties, facilitating their return to work after sickness absence and helping them remain at work.

What is a workplace adjustment?

The Department of health defines workplace adjustments as “a change or adjustment unique to a person’s needs that will enable them to do their job”. 

What adjustments should I implement?

No two people are the same and every situation is different. The person who is experiencing mental ill-health is the best placed to know what would help them. Please take the time to discuss adjustments with your employees:

  • Ask them what their needs are
  • Explore creative solutions with them
  • Review adjustments regularly to ensure their efficiency and appropriateness throughout time

Adjustments that are reasonable and effective are often the product of a collaborative approach. In some cases you may have a legal duty to provide a specific type of adjustment (please refer to the Equality Act (2010) to understand your obligations as an employer).

How can we help?

To guide the industry in exploring and implementing adjustments, RSSB have gathered examples of role adjustments, informed by consultation with rail workers with lived experience of mental health difficulties. These examples are by no means an exhaustive list of possibilities or a prescription of job role work adjustments but may help generate ideas of what could help if people are unsure. 

If you feel you need additional support on exploring workplace adjustments, “With You in Mind”, RSSB’s pilot service to help rail staff thrive at work, may be able to help. ‘With You in Mind’ is currently available to Southeastern railway, East Midlands Trains, MTR Crossrail and Colas.
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