HS2 has called on its supply chain to “break the taboo” around mental health.
The client said it wanted to lead a “cultural change” around mental wellbeing as it unveiled the health and safety standards it will expect from contractors seeking work on the project.
The principles were set out to delegates at HS2’s inaugural supply chain health and safety conference being held in Birmingham today.
HS2 said the event involves more than 200 representatives from 150 companies, including CEOs of several major construction firms.
Discussing HS2’s approach to mental health, its safety and assurance director Emma Head said: “As an industry we rightly shout about safety, but whisper about wellbeing and mental health.
“Safety standards have been continually improving in construction, but aspects of wellbeing lag behind.
“Mental health is often seen as taboo in wider society, and we want to help break that in the infrastructure industry.”
Ms Head told Construction News that HS2 intended to use its position as a major client to help set the health and safety agenda.
“HS2 will be a big part of the industry for well over a decade. At HS2 Ltd, we can do our part as business leaders and as a client to a large supply chain. We are doing this.
“However, cultural change is just as important as setting policy. We can’t change culture on our own and need the supply chain to get behind us and work with us.”
HS2 has said its health and safety principles will be organised around seven areas of focus: workforce health and wellbeing; workforce safety; public and neighbour health and safety; safe operations; safe by design; SMART assurance; and safe supply chain management.
For more on mental health in the industry, what your firm can do and where to get support, check out all the analysis and investigations from CN’s award-winning Mind Matters campaign.