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Rail industry recognise Pacific National for keeping the R U OK? conversation on track

TrackSAFE Foundation 4 mins read

On the eve of R U OK?Day, Australia’s largest private freight rail operator, Pacific National has taken out the TrackSAFE Foundation’s ‘Recognising R U OK? Conversations’ Award at the Australasian Rail Industry (ARI) Awards in Melbourne.

Safeguarding employee mental health and wellbeing is critical to Pacific National’s overall commitment to care for their people.

This Award recognises the important contribution Pacific National’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy plays in underpinning their R U OK? culture and encouraging meaningful conversations every day of the year.

Pacific National secured the Award from other worthy finalists in the category including; McConnell Dowell Constructions, Metro Trains Melbourne, North Western Program Alliance and V/Line, who each demonstrated how Rail R U OK? forms part of their approach to employee wellbeing.

Rail was the first industry to have its own dedicated R U OK?Day and Rail RUOK? has become a core aspect of wellbeing programs across the rail sector year-round.

This year saw more than 135 organisations and 120,000 employees involved in Rail R U OK? activities across Australia and New Zealand.

“Rail R U OK? has grown to become more than just a day and rail organisations nationwide now include Rail R U OK? activities as part of their year-round wellbeing initiatives”, says TrackSAFE Foundation Executive Director, Heather Neil.

“Research shows that participation in Rail R U OK? encourages meaningful, ongoing conversations in the workplace, helping to create a stronger, safer and more supportive rail industry. We’re delighted to recognise Pacific National’s efforts in creating opportunities for genuine conversations year-round with their workforce,” says Ms Neil.

“We know the positive impact an R U OK? conversation have when people know and trust each other. This usually means that trust has been built over time, they’re familiar with each other’s routines and behaviours, and they likely know what’s going on in each other’s lives. That’s why the R U OK? message can be so effective in the workplace,” said Ms Newton. “Congratulations to the team at Pacific National for their commitment to building a year-round R U OK? culture, where everyone feels safe, supported, and encouraged.”

"This trust, along with consideration of the where and when a conversation will take place contributes to making an R U OK? conversation truly meaningful.”

Upon winning the award, Paul Scurrah, CEO Pacific National said ‘We are absolutely thrilled to be recognised for our work in mental health and wellbeing. This achievement not only celebrates our dedication to mental health and wellbeing, but also highlights the successes we have seen in creating a stronger and safer workplace for our people in the areas we live, work and rail.

At Pacific National, we firmly believe in the power of R U OK? conversations, and the positive impact they can have on our workforce. By fostering meaningful interactions and promoting mental health awareness, we live our philosophy by demonstrating that We Care More.

With more than 3,500 employees at terminals, depots and sites across mainland Australia, Pacific National has been running a peer support program for a number of years. Our Peer Connect initiative is designed to promote mental health awareness and foster a peer-to-peer support network. Our Peer Connect Champions serve as vital points of contact for employees seeking support.

We strive to bring awareness to the R U OK? conversation every day and recognise Rail R U OK?Day and R U OK?Day each year. Additionally, through branding R U OK? on some of our locomotives, we aspire to connect and encourage people in our communities to start a conversation and check in on each other.

Winning this award reflects our dedication to mental health and wellbeing and highlights the success Pacific National has seen in creating a stronger and safer workplace for our people”. 

For support any time of day or night, Lifeline provides free and confidential crisis support.

Call 13 11 14, text 0477 13 11 14 or chat online at

13YARN is a free 24/7 service offering crisis support for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people. Call 13YARN (13 92 76).

MensLine Australia is a free 24/7 service offering support for Australian men. Call 1300 78 99 78 or chat online at:

For more information and to arrange an interview please contact: Hope Steele, TrackSAFE Foundation Communications & Engagement Manager e: p: 0434 347 650

About Rail R U OK?

• The TrackSAFE Foundation, a harm prevention charity, strives to reduce suicide, trespass, and level crossing incidents on the rail network while offering best practice trauma support to rail employees.

• R U OK? is a public health promotion charity dedicated to empowering everyone to meaningfully connect, ask, ‘are you OK?’ and lend support to the people around them.

• Rail R U OK? is a joint initiative of The TrackSAFE Foundation and R U OK? and aims to inspire and empower the rail sector to create a safe and supportive R U OK? Culture, every day of the year. Further information is available here.

About the Australasian Rail Industry Awards The ARI Awards recognise and celebrate individual and company achievements in the rail industry, showcasing examples of excellence and innovation in a range of areas, including safety, diversity, customer service, innovation and sustainability.

The awards are hosted by the Australasian Railway Association (ARA), Rail Track Association Australia (RTAA), Railway Technical Society of Australasia (RTSA), Permanent Way Institution (PWI NSW), Institution of Railway Signal Engineers (IRSE) and Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board (RISSB). A full list of winners can be found via the ARA website

Contact details:

Hope Steele, TrackSAFE Foundation Communications & Engagement Manager e: p: 0434 347 650


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