work related trauma

Trauma in the work place presents a particular set of problems. In South Africa most workplace trauma involve criminal violence, particularly in the retail industry and the security industry, and obviously in emergency medical services and police services. The high level of violence and the high incidence violence has a rippling effect of creating a pervading sense of danger and insecurity in the workplace. Even if only one person was directly threatened in, for instance, a robbery, the work colleagues are also invariably affected and will also feel unsafe.

The natural response to danger is to avoid. If the work place is perceived as dangerous this avoidance response is problematic. People find it difficult to return to work after a traumatic incident, and one can usually notice an increase in absenteeism and staff turnover. Fearfulness also affects work performance because it affects concentration and attention.

Fear is not the only effect of trauma, however. Following trauma at work staff often react with anger as well, a feeling that employers do not take care to ensure employee safety. This is very common, particularly when there is already an unsatisfactory relationship with management in the organisation, or when management has not dealt sensitively with traumatised staff.

The longer term effect of fear and anger following trauma exposure can have serious cost implications for an organisation and it depends largely on how the fall-out of trauma is managed.

traumaClinic has assisted a large number of organisations and their employees with early trauma support (see more – link to Early Intervention) over a period of more than 20 years. We have also provided extensive training in the management of trauma in the work place. For a list of our most prominent clients, go here


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