Trauma in the Workplace

While any employee could be dealing with trauma or PTSD at any time, there are several potential situations that could be traumatic in a workplace as a whole, and in turn affect many or all employees.

Examples of traumatic workplace events are:

  • Death or serious injury
  • Witnessing a death
  • Violent attacks
  • Threats
  • Bomb threats, explosions, fire, etc.
  • Natural disasters
  • Search and rescue situations
  • Attempted or completed suicide

The best thing employers and businesses can do is to be proactive about trauma in the workplace. Some ideas for dealing with or preventing workplace trauma are the following:

  • Be prepared: have detailed maps, checklists and guides readily available to all current and new employees on the procedures for emergency situations, etc.
  • Make it a priority: don’t wait for a traumatic event to happen before you start taking action.
  • Get employees involved: consider involving employees in the process of preparing for such events, and creating conversations and collaboration in the workplace.
  • Identify potential risks: offer training for employee communication, coping, identify any potential hazards and ensure a safe working environment at all times.
  • Provide resources: provide a list of resources for each employee in the event of a traumatic experience so that help is readily accessible and available to them.
  • Be calm and collected: the best thing to do when a traumatic experience happens at work is to communicate thoroughly and often with your staff, and remain calm and collected at all times.

If you’re looking for specific guides and resources on planning for workplace trauma, check out these resources on the Health Canada website.