When a serious injury or a fatal accident happens in a worksite, obviously the first concern is to take care of the employee who was hurt or to address the situation with the employee who was killed. This employee, however, is not necessarily the only one who could be harmed as a result of the incident. Co-workers who observed the accident or who came to the aid of their injured co-worker could suffer critical incident stress. In some cases, employees who observed a frightening accident could even develop post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which affects their own health and their own ability to work effectively.
An Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer can provide help to the injured worker or to family members of those who are killed in an accident. Benefits, including medical coverage, disability coverage, or death benefits should be provided. If the injured employee suffers from PTSD in the aftermath of the accident, coverage for mental healthcare is typically also part of the benefits which workers’ comp should cover. For those workers who observed but who were not injured by the incident, however, the best option is for employers to provide appropriate support before the trauma causes PTSD to develop.
Preventing PTSD After Atlanta Workplace Accidents
Safety BLR recently addressed the issue of post traumatic stress disorder and workplace accidents. According to Safety BLR, a response called “critical incident stress” is common in workers who observe a co-worker die, as well as in workers who clean up after accidents or provide assistance following an injury. Symptoms of critical incident stress can be physical, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral.
An employee experiencing critical incident stress could become fatigued or dizzy, could feel chest pain, and could experience frequent headaches. Emotional symptoms include fear, anger, depression, chronic anxiety, and irritability. Difficulty concentrating, impaired problem solving skills, confusion, and difficulty with memory issues are hallmarks of critical incident stress. Behavior changes can also result, including antisocial behaviors, changes in appetite, and increased alcohol use. If these symptoms persist more than four weeks, then the critical incident stress has escalated into PTSD.
Employers can try to help employees manage critical incident stress and avoid PTSD. Providing stress managing training and counseling by qualified professionals and training employees to recognize symptoms can be beneficial. Investing in critical incident stress management and stress relief can be a good decision for a company to preserve the health of the workforce and avoid losing good employees.
As many as 60 percent of businesses where a tragedy occurs will close their doors within two years, and a big part of that is because of the impact of the accident on the workforce. By providing assistance in managing post-accident stress, employers can increase the chances that a company will overcome a serious accident and be able to move forward.
Parsons & Associates, P.C. is an Atlanta workers’ compensation law firm serving Atlanta, Savannah, and surrounding areas throughout Fulton County. Contact Parsons & Associates, P.C. today at 770-422-9000 or contact us online if you have been injured at work.