Sellafield’s mental health first approach to construction projects

Sellafield’s mental health first approach to construction projects

To mark the start of Mental Health Awareness Week 2020, Sellafield’s Kevin Bell recalls the steps the SMF project team took to roll out mental health initiatives – and the positives as a result.

The award-winning Sellafield Silo Maintenance Facility (SMF) project was completed with an exemplary safety record. The team’s approach to safety went beyond the physical – there had previously been no mental health support for construction workers on the site.

“We contacted Mental Health First Aid England to see what they could offer in terms of training and support,” says Kevin Bell, Silos Maintenance Facility project manager. “The project became the first construction site at Sellafield to roll out mental health initiatives.”

Initially, seven staff were trained as mental health first aiders. Managers and supervisors then went on a half-day course on mental health awareness, which provided them with the tools required to recognise the signs of a mental health issue. “We arranged events for the whole workforce, including a presentation by Mental Health First Aid England, raising awareness of mental health issues and the importance to speak openly on the subject.”

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Posted by Mark Rowland on 18th May 2020

About the Author

Mark Rowland is a senior writer on the Project editorial team. He has worked as a business journalist and editor for 15 years, and has won awards for his writing and editing. He has also worked in project and product management, overseeing the launch and continuous development of new websites and publications. Project is the official journal of the Association for Project Management (APM).

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