Shocking gap in mental health awareness in ports

Mental wellbeing in port workers deserves greater attention Mental wellbeing in port workers deserves greater attention
Industry Database

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

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