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The importance of mental health within logistics, transport and supply chain

15 May 2024/Categories: Industry News, Bus & Coach, Freight Forwarding, Logistics & Supply Chain, Operations Management, Ports, Maritime & Waterways, Rail


This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, an important time to raise awareness about mental health issues and advocate for better support and resources.

For those working in the logistics, transport, and supply chain sectors, mental health is something that cannot be overlooked.

Mental health can significantly impact concentration when at work, affecting performance and safety.

Issues within the industry are often caused by high levels of stress, isolation, irregular working hours and physical demands.  

One of the biggest challenges of all is the stigma around mental health which can allow concerns to sometimes go unnoticed due to a lack of awareness.

According to Mind Charity, 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year in England.

‘Mate in Mind,’ mental health charity said that according to a report published by Deloitte in 2017, the transport, shipping and logistics sector experienced the highest level of absences compared to other private sector industries surveyed.

The transport and communications industries equally experienced the second greatest level of workplace stress.

Additionally, data from the Office of National Statistics in 2021 indicated that the transport, shipping and logistics sector had a sickness absence rate of 2.5%.

This was higher than the UK all-sector average of 2.2%.

The affects stress can have on driver behaviour:

At the 10th annual CILT UK Transport and Logistics Safety Forum Conference, Chartered Fellow Karl Wilshaw, Travis Perkins Technical Fleet Director and Associate Professor of Driver Behaviour at Cranfield University, Dr Lisa Dorn, discussed their research on driver behaviour.

In the article, ‘The human factor,’ published in the February edition of Focus Magazine, both explained the impact stress has on LCV and HGV driver behaviour.

The pair underlined that work or personal stress can overload our limited cognitive abilities. According to their research, for drivers, stress makes it difficult to process information related to the road, as their attention gets diverted to processing emotions instead.

Lisa said: "The amygdala, the brain region responsible for emotions, can hijack attention and perception, shifting the focus away from safety-critical information. This can lead to situations where drivers fail to notice warning signs and bridge height markers." 

Karl and Lisa’s research is interesting and also highlights the importance of mental health awareness within the industry.

Many organisations within the sector have partnered with a variety of mental health charities offering support to their employees.

If you, your employees, or anyone you know who you think may be experiencing a mental health issue, you can reach out to the charities below:

 

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