The RailStaff Awards 2024

Nominations for Health & Wellbeing Award

Louise Ebrey

Said the following about Caitriona O'Brien:

“Cat was bereaved in November 2020, losing her partner, who died from a stroke aged 46. On returning to work she had a return to work interview and realised that this can only provide a portion of the support needed, In an recent internal news article she is quotes as saying “A return-to-work interview at the end of a period of absence doesn't work in this scenario. For me, this wasn't the end of something, it was just the beginning. What we need from our workplace is an empathetic and understanding journey to healing."

Cat knew that there will always be a portion of people in our workplaces who are suffering loss and this would be higher after the pandemic, so she set up a she set up a bereavement group (with a diversity and inclusion lead in Scotland). While in its early stages, this group has already been meaningful and helpful to others.

Cat not only co-runs the group, but frequently talks openly about her loss to a wide variety of audiences, including the internal support networks such as the Multi-Faith and Cultural Fusion networks to help signpost people to the support they need.

I am nominating Cat, because when she found something missing in the organisation something she needed -when she found a gap, she decided to fill it and help others in the process.

And she's not just done it within Network Rail, it's cross company within the railway and now has a board/steering committee with representatives from GWR, Rail Delivery Group and Transport Focus as well as Network Rail.

Cat’s work was celebrated in Network Rail’s NW&C regional awards recently. The awards ceremony was on the six-month anniversary of Jon’s death. Which means she had done made a real impact in just three months. In spite of it being a day which must have been full of memories, on his six-month anniversary she gave the most amazing thank you speech, which I know touched many people. She then posted a photo on LinkedIn of her with her award, which showed her vulnerability on that difficult day. You could see the tears behind her eyes. It’s so powerful and shows that we can be vulnerable in work.“

Kai Matapo

Said the following about Caitriona O'Brien:

“There has never been a person that I have seen so dedicated and committed to make a difference in people's lives whilst at work. Cat has single handily coordinated the implementation of the updated Fatigue Standard within the North West & Central Region, improving the lives of 9000 people. She genuinely has a heart of gold and willing to help to overcome any unique issues this presents to teams no matter how small and does so with such care and passion. Her enthusiasm goes beyond that of many colleagues which is why I know this will be such a success in making other peoples lives safer! In addition to this Cat has set up a regional bereavement network for people to have a safe space to grieve where they have lost loved ones and friends, this has been such a success this has grown initially into a national NR group and now recognised as the industry group again demonstrating just how much of a caring individual she is. She fully deserves this recognition for the care she shows to improving teams and colleagues wellbeing!“