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HCT Group secures funding for three safety projects

As we emerge from lockdown, it has never been more important to focus on the health and wellbeing of our drivers.

Posted: 06 Oct 2021

As we emerge from lockdown, it has never been more important to focus on the health and wellbeing of our drivers. HCT Group has successfully applied for three projects through Transport for London’s Bus Driver Fatigue & Wellbeing Innovation Challenge programme.

The programme seeks innovative solutions that either improve drivers’ health and wellbeing and/or reduce incidents of driver fatigue. We’ve teamed up with a range of great third sector organisations and innovative suppliers to support our staff in different ways. The three projects are:

Mental Health Training: We have partnered with mental health charity MIND to deliver mental health awareness training to all Red Bus managers, supervisors and union reps – ensuring a better understanding of mental health issues and how they can affect our colleagues. This is a continuation of our work that started with the Channel Islands, Yorkshire and Bristol earlier this year.

We’ve also secured funding to train Mental Health First Aiders – like a regular first aider, but trained to spot the early signs and symptoms of mental ill health in colleagues, then start a supportive conversation, listening to the person non-judgementally and encouraging the person to access appropriate support.

Domestic Abuse Training: Domestic abuse is a reality that blights the lives of too many families – and yet it remains a subject that people find difficult to talk about. We’ve teamed up with Hestia, a leading charity in this field, to provide training for our managers and supervisors, so that they can identify possible signs of domestic abuse, offer support and signpost colleagues onto refuges or other services.

Fatigue monitoring: With TfL research suggesting that 21% of drivers struggle to stay awake behind the wheel at least once per month, tackling fatigue at work is essential. We’re working with Tenshi, a technology company, who provides a mobile app that can measure a driver’s eye movement response to see if they are fit and alert enough to work. It’s technology that has already been tested on maritime staff and is currently on test with US Navy Seals. The project, which is a joint venture with fellow London bus operator UNO, aims to see if we can identify and avoid fatigue events.

Jon Pike, Head of Health, Safety and Environment at HCT Group, said “The wellbeing of our team is an absolute priority for us, so we’re delighted to have been awarded TfL funding for these three projects.  

“I’d also like to thank Unite the Union for their support and encouragement in putting our bids together, which has been instrumental in our success.   In all three projects, we’ll be working closely with Unite to make sure that these innovations are leading to real benefits to our colleagues’ health and wellbeing.”