Covid Scotland: ScotRail staff report lack of advice and support during pandemic

Only half of railway workers believe they were given timely advice on responding to the Covid-19 pandemic, research has found.

Some ScotRail staff have reported a lack of support during covid. Picture: Michael Gillen
Some ScotRail staff have reported a lack of support during covid. Picture: Michael Gillen

Almost 85% of the 850 respondents across the UK said they faced challenges in social distancing while working and a quarter experienced a deterioration in their mental health, researchers at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow found. Another quarter felt they lacked work-based support, according to the findings published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Concerns were also raised about the loss of social support and work-life balance. A small number of respondents said they saw positive changes such as increased time with families, more outdoor exercise and a beneficial impact on the environment.

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Many railway workers had to continue to carry out their daily duties during the pandemic while taking on increased demands. Nearly 80% of respondents to the survey were male and just under two-thirds were train drivers, while just over one in 10 had pre-existing physical or mental health problems.

Dr Nicola Cogan, of Strathclyde's School of Psychological Sciences & Health, led the study. She said: "The pandemic has presented significant mental and physical strain for many groups of workers.

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"Railway workers were already potentially exposed to stressful situations, such as accidents and assaults, but also faced a high risk from Covid-19, owing to frequent contact with commuters. Our results indicate that a large number of railway workers perceived high levels of risk and burnout relating to Covid-19 stressors; this indicates the importance of workplace support and wellbeing during periods of high perceived risks."

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