Lanes first to TRiM mental stress in water utility industry

Kelly Hansford

Drainage and wastewater specialist Lanes Group plc has become the first service provider in the water utility industry to support its staff by using trauma risk management.

The process, known as TRiM, originated in the Royal Marines and was used to assess battlefield trauma. Outside the military, it is most commonly used to support staff in the emergency services.

Now Lanes has funded the training of a TRiM practitioner to work within its teams delivering a comprehensive range of wastewater network maintenance services for Thames Water.

TRiM is a structured method for assessing the impact of a traumatic event on individuals or teams, with their consent, so colleagues can be offered the right support, appropriate for their needs, and for as long as it is required.

Lanes Technical Director Andy Brierley said: “Broadening the use of TRiM outside the military and blue-light services makes huge sense because we’re now much more aware that people respond differently to a wide range of potentially traumatic events.

“For us, it’s a natural extension of the mental health support we provide for our teams. We’re doing this because we care about their wellbeing and because it creates a safer and more effective workforce.”

The Lanes TRiM practitioner is Kelly Hansford. She is a qualified mental health practitioner already involved in the delivery of a ground-breaking internal counselling service for Lanes staff.

Kelly said: “People are unique, so we needed to identify a way to quickly and concisely identify areas of concern and allow us to tailor a solution and package of support for those in need. TRiM allows us to do that.”

The technique has already been used to support a wastewater engineer who was called to control wastewater at a house fire and saw the body of a deceased person being removed from the building.

In another case, TRiM was used to assess and support two colleagues who had provided emergency traffic management after a pedestrian was killed in a hit and run incident.

Kelly said: “Intervention may be as light-touch as having one conversation and monitoring an individual’s behaviour. Or it could be more involved, with a package of intensive support which can including referring an individual for trauma counselling.

“We’ve also used TRiM to support colleagues who’ve experienced traumatic events outside work or even before their career in Lanes began because their previous trauma was triggered by a present-day event.”

TRiM is part of wider suite of services to promote wellbeing and mental health at Lanes.

The company has an award-winning wellbeing app and practitioner programme that assesses the happiness of the workforce and delivers counselling and advice to people who ask for it. Lanes also has a team of qualified mental health first aiders.

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