Workers' Comp

Worksite Crisis Response

February 19, 2019

Not all victims of worksite trauma sustain physical injuries

Anyone who has ever witnessed a traumatic event understands the mental anguish it can cause. You don’t have to be physically injured to suffer a mental blow. In workers’ compensation, we often do a great job caring for the physical injuries, especially those that are commonplace. But what happens following the less-common yet more severe incidents? Do we adequately care for or even acknowledge those unfortunate individuals who witness a catastrophic event? Too often the answer to both of those questions is no. It doesn’t have to be this way. Addressing bystander trauma through crisis intervention can be good for workers and for the workplace.

Workplace injuries occur every seven seconds, according to the National Safety Council,1 so it’s to be expected that some of these are going to be severe. Nine in 10 people in the U.S. will be exposed to at least one traumatic event in their lifetimes.2 For some, the events will carry lasting consequences. The estimated lifetime prevalence of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the U.S. is 8.7 percent.3 For first-responders such as paramedics, the rate is as high 20 percent.

Some of these traumatic events can unfold at work. Nearly two million American workers report having been victims of workplace violence each year.5 Even that large number understates the problem because many cases go unreported. Research has identified factors that might increase the risk of violence for workers in some situations.

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