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Automotive industry charity Ben has officially launched its critical response service to support employers and their employees in times of crisis. This free service sees Ben working with automotive industry businesses to provide appropriate, often immediate, support for employees when they experience an unexpected or traumatic incident or event.

This specialist service supports employees who have recently experienced:

  • Death of a colleague or customer
  • Serious injury to a member of staff or customer
  • Physical or psychological threat (life threatening risk or situations of extreme violence)
  • Incidents where the circumstances are so unusual or the sights and sounds so distressing, that individuals need support to cope with the trauma experienced.

Ben has been developing this onsite trauma support service since 2017, after being approached for support by automotive Ben4Business partners following a traumatic incident affecting their employees. This official launch of the service demonstrates Ben’s commitment in responding to the needs of the industry and supporting its people in times of need. Ben has seen a rise in employers requesting support with critical incidents, so this newly launched service will see the charity supporting more individuals.

Last year, Ben’s Critical response service supported over 140 automotive industry employees in response to a critical incident. To date, the service has seen Ben predominantly supporting employers and employees who have been affected by a colleague taking their own life.

As part of the service, Ben provides:

  • Employer guidance, support and reassurance from a single point of contact
  • Employee briefings providing awareness on emotional responses and coping strategies
  • Assessing the wellbeing of individuals who have been affected, through 1:1 engagement meetings
  • Referral pathway for ongoing support (such as counselling) for individuals when needed
  • Specialist information and self help resources for employers and employees.

Rachel Clift, health & wellbeing director, said: “While businesses do everything possible to minimise risk to staff or customers, there are occasions when a traumatic incident happens. These incidents can impact everyone who was directly, or indirectly, involved and cause emotional distress.

“At Ben, we understand that, when a traumatic incident occurs, it’s essential to deal with the situation promptly and efficiently. Employers need to gauge the reaction of their employees and assess the impact of the incident on their wellbeing. That’s where we come in – we’re here to support employers and their employees every step of the way.

“Since 2017, our Ben4Business partners have approached us for wellbeing support during a crisis and we want to ensure we continue to meet this need. When we first provided this service, it was mainly offered directly to individuals, but employers are now also supported and can benefit from our expertise. We have since developed this service by working with our Ben4Business partners and we have developed this service around their needs and supporting their people.

“A stark reality is that we have mostly supported people after a colleague has taken their own life. The industry has a high proportion of male employees and men are around three times more likely to commit suicide than women. We have a responsibility to look after our own – our automotive industry people. We encourage all automotive employers to come forward and work with us to support their people in times of need.”