Psychologists from the OPC have been delivering Post Incident Assessments (PIAs) within the rail industry, both in the UK and internationally, for the past 15 years. We have assessed hundreds of safety critical employees who have had safety of the line incidents.
In the past the PIA process has always been undertaken face-to-face. This allows the psychologist and employee to build a rapport so that the employee feels supported in this development process. However, as all of our working lives changed in 2020 the OPC psychologists were not alone in having to adapt. They quickly and effectively moved to delivering PIAs remotely via a variety of online platforms. As part of this process:
- The psychologist typically contacted the employee in advance of the PIA to talk to them, allay any fears about the PIA or any nervousness about the use of the online platform.
- The psychologist and employee could see each other via video link, meaning they could still gain a good rapport.
- Employees were able to complete all relevant psychometric tools online, with the support of the psychologist.
- Both the psychologist and the employee were able to share their screens meaning monitoring of any exercises completed was simple and effective.
By adapting to delivering PIAs via online platforms:
- Employees and organisations have not had to wait for ‘lockdown’ to ease before the OPC could undertake a PIA. Therefore, the employees return to work has not been stalled or delayed. We have successfully supported employees back to work throughout ‘lockdown’.
- The psychologists have been able to have greater input in the support for employees following a PIA, e.g. extra follow up sessions for the employee to discuss their development techniques, as no travel time is required by the employee or psychologist.
- Overseas client’s have saved time and money due to zero expenses associated with the psychologists travelling abroad.
The feedback from employees and clients has been positive. Employees report feeling positive that they have been able to attend a PIA during ‘lockdown’, which has in turn helped them to return to work successfully. Clients’ report being open to continuing to use this remote PIA option in the future when this is appropriate for both the organisation and the employee.