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Eloise Henderson
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E: media@bandce.co.uk

Blaise Tapp
Media Relations Manager
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E: blaisetapp@bandce.co.uk


A new academic study with the objective of highlighting the mental health of rail construction workers has been given vital funding by B&CE’s Charitable Trust1, it has been announced today.

The Kingston University2 project is this year’s winner of the Trust’s £25,000 Occupational Health Research Award3 and this funding will enable the team to begin its research in the coming months. The award judges were impressed by the project’s stated aim of assessing both the extent and causes of stress for those who work across the rail construction industry. A survey last year by the Rail Safety and Standards Board found that more than four in 10 (43%) of those questioned met the criteria for a clinical health condition, with higher levels of depression, anxiety and PTSD compared to the general population during the pandemic.

The research will also provide recommendations for interventions to enhance employee understanding of their own mental health, support further those seeking help, as well as reducing stigma.

It will be led by senior psychology lecturer Dr Georgia Butler, who says people working in rail construction are potentially at greater risk from poor mental health because of antisocial working patterns and the nature of the environments they work in.

She said: “Although there has been real progress in mental health research within the construction industry in general, there remains a lack of insight around the problems facing those working in specialist subsectors of the industry, such as rail, where workers keep irregular hours.  Because major works are carried out overnight and Bank Holidays, this puts pressure on management and their teams to work unsociable hours and to tight, often highly consequential deadlines.

“My hope is that this work will help the industry reduce stress on its workers, identify what help is needed and how this support can be accessed. This will not only improve working conditions but also help improve productivity.”

Nicola Sinclair, head of the B&CE Charitable Trust, said:

“The Trustees were very impressed with Dr Butler’s application as they can see that there are, potentially, very real benefits to a key industry and to those who work within it. The Charitable Trust is committed to improving the working lives of all those who work in construction, which is why we are delighted to be able to support this excellent research project.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  1. B&CE’s Charitable Trust was set up in 1991 to give back to the construction industry by providing help for people working in construction in times of need, including grants towards education, financial support and retraining. It has given out millions in charitable donations. It is based at B&CE’s headquarters in Manor Royal, Crawley.
  2. Named one of the top 50 institutions in the country in the latest Guardian University Guide league tables, Kingston University is the largest higher education provider in South West London. Its four campuses are located within close proximity of Kingston upon Thames town centre ¬and just 25 minutes from central London. The University’s flagship Town House building was awarded the 2021 RIBA Stirling Prize, recognising it as Britain’s best new building.  Kingston University is a sector leader for its work opening up higher education to the wider community and boosting social mobility by encouraging all students, irrespective of their start in life, to make the most of the many benefits degree-level learning has to offer.  The University is a growing force in research and pioneer in entrepreneurship. Developments in teaching, learning and facilities have all contributed to positioning the University at the heart of education and economic development both in the capital and across the surrounding region. For further information about Kingston University, visit www.kingston.ac.uk.
  3. B&CE’s Charitable Trust’s Occupational Health Research Award of £25,000 is given annually. This is awarded to a UK research institution in support of occupational health research that aims to make a significant difference to construction workers. For more details, visit: https://bandce.co.uk/corporate-responsibility/the-charitable-trust/grants-for-health-and-safety/occupational-health-research-award/