Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder...
Post-Traumatic Stress In
When a death or critical injury occurs on a construction site, it's not only the victims and their families who suffer.
witnessing the accident or helping with first aid may suffer severe emotional
stress that can result in injury or illness later. The syndrome affecting
workers following a traumatic event on the job is known as post-traumatic stress
experiencing PTSD may show one or more of the following symptoms:
symptoms may occur immediately after a traumatic event or may be a delayed
reaction to the stress. They may last a few days or persist for weeks or even
months, unless professional help is provided.
employers, supervisors, and workers must recognize that PTSD can be a problem
after a serious accident. As part of site emergency planning, construction
companies should have measures in place to control the effects of PTSD.
Policy and Procedure
employer's policy and procedures regarding a jobsite fatality or critical injury
should include guidelines for controlling the effects of PTSD.
should be trained in the immediate on-site response to a serious accident and
should have basic knowledge of PTSD symptoms. Trained coworkers, called peer
supporters, have been beneficial in dealing with PTSD because they understand
the workplace. Peer support members are trained 1) to provide education before a
traumatic event takes place, and 2) to assist workers in coping with emotional
stress after the event.
should always be included in peer support awareness training, as they are often
the first on the scene of the accident and deal with its initial impact.
Remember, however, that peer supporters are not trained therapists and should
always operate under the guidance of a certified trauma specialist.
response to a fatality or critical injury, professional trauma assistance should
be on the jobsite within 24 to 72 hours after the event. Early intervention is
critical in helping to prevent PTSD.
assistance in managing PTSD is offered by various organizations. When selecting
one, make sure that trained trauma counselors are available 24 hours a day, 365
days a year, and can be on site within one to three days after the incident.
This is crisis intervention in a group format. Within hours of the traumatic
event, counselors teach workers how they can reduce their reaction to stress.
This is done on the day after the incident and helps workers understand the
factual and emotional aspects of PTSD.
Discussion. At the defusing or debriefing, counselors identify
individuals with severe reactions to the event. Referral to a health care
professional may be appropriate at this point.
Follow-up. Within five days of the debriefing, the trauma counselor
calls the workplace contact to determine whether there is need for further
Information Sessions. Usually, this is a session explaining how to
support family members suffering from PTSD.
Evaluation. The trauma team manager follows up with the employer to
assess the effectiveness of the policy and procedures in place for managing PTSD.
Necessary changes can be implemented in a revised plan.
stress disorder must be controlled to avoid further injury or illness after a
serious accident. Preventive procedures can help to ensure that people touched
by trauma recover to lead healthy lives.