NSW health initiatives


Bus drivers in New South Wales were spoken to about the importance of health and wellbeing

Strengthening the resilience of bus drivers across the country through tailored health and wellbeing programs is imperative for an industry that attracts and retains Australia’s aging workforce, according to one health expert.

Occupational therapist and workplace health specialist Nikki Brouwers, of the Interact Group, spoke to bus drivers across New South Wales this month on behalf of BusNSW.

Brouwers discussed at length the tactics that they can take to strengthen their resilience against incidents of bullying or harassment they face on the job.

Drivers raised issues of being unable to manage or tolerate the ways they are spoken to by younger passengers.

"We can’t change our passengers, but we can change our resilience," says Brouwers.

"We celebrate that the majority of bus drivers are more mature in age and that their culture and values may be different to that of their passengers.

"There is a huge opportunity here to strengthen resilience to ensure that drivers manage incidents as they occur, not after the fact."

Brouwers says tailored communication techniques and empowering tactics to manage reactions and response to bullying or harassment incidents will not only strengthen the position of the bus and coach industry within the Australian workforce, but ensure the stability of it for the future.

"The relationship between mental health and the workplace is a complex one for bus drivers both in terms of the significant proportion of time they spend at work as well as the contribution the workplace has on the development or worsening of depressions and anxiety conditions through a number of factors," she says.

"Typically, workplace mental health issues come to the attention of management or colleagues when everything reaches rock bottom. This is simply too late.

"Early intervention and prevention is the critical. Often all it takes is applying a good fair common sense approach to prevent workplace bullying incidents from occurring."

Brouwers says it makes sense for bus operators to ensure workplace harassment is prevented or controlled.

"Workplace harassment can have significant human and financial costs for a business and can lead to the breakdown of teams and individual relationships, poor worker health and reduced efficiency, productivity and profitability."

She says building trusting relationships where issues and concerns can be discussed in confidence to prevent any escalation into something bigger is a great first step for employers.

The Interact Group is leading a positive change within the bus and coach industry with the recent announcement of its tailor-made 24 hour confidential telephone counselling service for bus drivers. 

ays.

"Typically, workplace mental health issues come to the attention of management or colleagues when everything reaches rock bottom. This is simply too late.

"Early intervention and prevention is the critical. Often all it takes is applying a good fair common sense approach to prevent workplace bullying incidents from occurring."

Brouwers says it makes sense for bus operators to ensure workplace harassment is prevented or controlled.

"Workplace harassment can have significant human and financial costs for a business and can lead to the breakdown of teams and individual relationships, poor worker health and reduced efficiency, productivity and profitability."

She says building trusting relationships where issues and concerns can be discussed in confidence to prevent any escalation into something bigger is a great first step for employers.

The Interact Group is leading a positive change within the bus and coach industry with the recent announcement of its tailor-made 24 hour confidential telephone counselling service for bus drivers. 

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