Facilitators to the use of help and support by employees after a critical incident

This section describes briefly the various factors that can improve access to and use of support and care strategies by crew members before and after a critical incident. These factors should be considered when designing and implementing a support strategy.


Improving access to support

- A proactive offer of support and care is likely to have positive effects on the actual use of help by crew members

- We know from interviews and from research on men’s relationships with health services, that when a man tries and fails once to obtain the help he needs, he is less likely to try again. Therefore, improving first time access to services is very important.

Promoting use of resources

- Railway companies (at all levels: top management, Claims Department, Human Resources Department, operation managers, Safety and Police Department, local management, team leaders, employees), the union, the Railway Association of Canada and Operation Lifesaver should promote help seeking, be aware of existing stereotypes and advertise resources (present, describe and explain those resources).

Involvement of peers


- Peers play a key role in changing values and behaviours. Peer support programmes are an important medium to promote existing resources and their use in a time of crisis.

- Peers who successfully used available help become good advocates for help seeking

Training, support and care protocols

- Accurate and unbiased information is important. The use of resources will depend upon the trust people place in these resources, their usefulness and the absence of negative consequences of their work. When people are well informed about the various resources and their impact, they can make the right decisions for themselves.

- In times of intense crisis, reducing uncertainties by clearly describing resources and available support helps people regain a sense of control, feeling supported by their employer and it reduces tension.