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NATIONAL PRESS RELEASE November '23: ‘It’s not just the right thing to do, it’s something you have to address’

February 11, 2023

An offshore safety specialist has added mental health support to its offering in recognition of the important role it plays in workplace health.

Integrity HSE, launched in Aberdeen in March, has brought on board Shabnum Hanif as director of Clinical Psychology, who will lead the “H” in its HSE offering.

The move was catalysed by a landmark offshore industry report this year, which highlighted that offshore workers were up to 15 times more likely to die by suicide than those onshore.

Meanwhile the industry, like many others, remains susceptible to rising cases of depression and work-related anxiety, meaning lost days and an impact on the economy.

Managing director Steve Harris said: “It’s not just the right thing to do. It’s not just the legal imperative, but economically, in order to be a viable business these days, it is something that you have to address.”

Ms Hanif, who worked in Edinburgh as a clinical psychologist before a career in the energy sector, will leverage her background to support people across the industry struggling with mental health issues.

“We’re  in a predominantly male industry – men are three times more likely to take their own life,” she said.

“It’s because we don’t seek help, we don’t talk and that is what we’re trying to do now.

“We will go to their place of work, we will be on site,” said Ms Hanif, but Integrity HSE will also have a discrete site in its new Aberdeen office, which it moves into soon, for those more comfortable with that option.

© Supplied by DCTShabnum Hanif with Integrity HSE managing director Steve Harris (left) and director of Drilling Operations Darrell Lines.

Ms Hanif said: “Given my unusual experience and background, I’ve gained the experience and the knowledge to understand the work that’s involved in the energy industry, ranging from offshore diving and drilling right through to corporate office support.

“I can see the difficulties the personnel face and just how necessary it is to address the mental health issues facing them.”

Integrity HSE hopes its offering can ensure people can “work productively”, an aspect of the World Health Organisation definition of mental health which is often “lost in translation,” says Ms Hanif.

Integrity HSE said it has plans to add more counsellors to the team, all of whom will be trained to the highest standards of professional development with the right competencies and tailored to industry requirements.

The team will offer no obligation quotes and a proposal, says Mr Harris, which even if no one takes it up, still has potential for “pragmatic change in the industry”.

Integrity HSE is also looking at potential for clients outside the UK, with Ms Hanif and director of drilling operations Darell Lines in the US this week.

“What Shabnum gives us is the capability to help our clients to recognise and manage not just the physical hazards in the workplace, but the psychosocial social hazards as well,” said Mr Harris.

He added: “We offer an energy-specific bespoke service with a clinical psychologist that understands the industry – not just from the point of boots on ground-up but understands it from a corporate place coming down as well, so can find that happy medium, that ALARP (as low as reasonably practicable) medium between budgets and risk tolerance and risk acceptance.”