Trauma In The Workplace

Organizations should consider trauma response

Why is it important for the organization/workplace to consider trauma response? Success of the business or company, both short and long-term, may hinge on management’s response to a traumatic event. If employees feel neglected, their loyalty and commitment to their employer may be compromised. If an employee develops post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the health care costs borne by the company will be extensive. It is also quite possible that an expensive Workers Compensation claim and a possible lawsuit could follow. Often there will be increased physical health costs secondary to emotional response that could also affect absenteeism. Productivity can suffer. The loss of productivity can be minimized and contained if the employer plans a timely and appropriate response.

The loss of loyalty, commitment, productivity, increased absenteeism, retention challenges, and health costs are all sufficient reasons for employers to plan for and address trauma in the workplace.

Compared to the cost of neglect of the matter, trauma procedure planning and trauma handling efforts represent a minimal expense.

There are many types of traumatic events that occur in the workplace. They include:

  • Natural disasters: hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, volcanoes, fires.
  • Human-caused incidents: explosions, fires, violence from firearms or other weapons, rape,threats, robbery, assaults, domestic violence, stalking.
  • Deaths (including homicide/suicide): on-the-job, away from the job, work-related, accidental, disease-caused, violent.
  • Downsizing/layoffs: mergers, takeovers, acquisitions, large or small by division or across the whole of the organisation.
  • Construction.

Unfortunately, no workplace can consider itself immune to potential traumatic events. A traumatic event can directly affect one employee or can be a large scale event and be experienced directly by all employees. An employer may want to identify and assess risk for potential events and begin a planning process to respond accordingly.Trauma incident planning is a specialist field and it is certainly worth engaging a professional. If your organisation is at risk, please make contact today.

Louw Alberts has a Private Practice in Wierda Park, Centurion, Pretoria.

Payments can be done on Premises. Card payments, cash and EFT are acceptable. You can then claim back from medical aid.