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A Transdev Auckland staff member enjoyed having Quentin the interactive question mark visit their workplace as part of Rail R U OK? Day

R U OK? Day encourages rail workers to follow that train of thought

Rail employees across Australia and New Zealand have championed a stronger and more supportive industry by asking ‘Are you OK?’ of each other on 11 April, the fifth annual Rail R U OK? Day.


This annual industrywide event inspires rail employees to look out for one another during life’s ups and downs by asking ‘Are you OK?’ and really listening to the answer. Partnering on this initiative are suicide and harm prevention charities R U OK? and the TrackSAFE Foundation.

Since Rail R U OK? Day began in 2015, the numbers participating have grown exponentially from around 6500 to well over 50,000 this year.

“We know that trusting your gut instinct and starting a genuine conversation with a workmate who doesn’t seem themselves can be life-changing,” says Katherine Newton, R U OK? CEO. “Now in its fifth year, this partnership with TrackSAFE is one that we are extremely proud of, and is a fantastic example of an entire industry getting behind the ‘R U OK?’ movement. 

“With participation in Rail R U OK? Day having grown by almost 700% since the inaugural event in 2015, rail employees from across Australia and New Zealand are transforming their workplaces into strong and resilient environments every day of the year,” says Ms Newton.

Digital question mark

In the eight-week leadup to Rail R U OK? Day, TrackSAFE and R U OK? sent ‘Quentin’, an interactive digital question mark on a relay-styled trip travelling every state and territory in Australia and across New Zealand. 

Quentin issues educational and informative challenges to encourage conversations between workmates, and completed his cross-country trek at Sydney Trains on Rail R U OK? Day.

Bob Herbert, TrackSAFE foundation chairman, says the Rail R U OK? Day is the largest initiative celebrated by rail and is helping to foster genuinely supportive workplaces across the industry. “We’re so thrilled to have such a huge number of participants involved in this year’s Rail R U OK? Day. It’s our most high-profile initiative involving rail employees.

“Due to the nature of roles in the industry, some workers could potentially be exposed to traumatic incidents. And these incidents can have lasting effects. Not only this, we’re all exposed to life’s ups and downs, so we want to empower rail employees to deal with confronting challenges that might be thrown their way. Rail R U OK? Day equips rail employees with the tools to reach out and connect with each other in a meaningful way.”

Encouraging conversations

Mr Herbert says they have heard numerous anecdotal accounts whereby a rail employee has trusted their instincts and noticed the signs that someone near them has been struggling. 

“We’re thrilled to learn that they have started a conversation that has put that person on a whole new path. We place so much importance on this major initiative for this very reason, and we’re so proud to see Rail R U OK? Day keep on growing year on year,” he adds.

Supporting the awareness day is a set of free open-source resources tailored to encourage conversations within the rail industry. The four steps to starting a conversation – ask, listen, encourage action, and check in – are a key part of this strategy.

To access the Rail R U OK? resources or for further information, click here

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