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Addressing Bystander Trauma in Workplace Accidents


Witnessing a traumatic event can result is severe mental suffering that can have a substantial impact on your health and wellbeing. In fact, you don’t even have to be injured to experience the mental effects of witnessing a traumatic event. Although workers’ compensation covers workplace injuries, the mental suffering that workers endure after seeing a catastrophic event often goes untreated. In this blog, we discuss bystander trauma and how crisis intervention can help with workplace accidents.

Traumatic Events & PTSD

Statistics show that 9 out of 10 people will witness at least one traumatic event in their lifetime. In the United States, it is estimated that 8.7% of the population suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Among first-responders like paramedics and police, PTSD rates reach as high as 20%. In addition to these statistics, close to 2 million U.S. workers experience workplace violence each year. While this number is high, many cases involving workplace violence are never actually reported.

The following factors can increase a workers chance of being involved in a violent situation at work:

  • Working by yourself
  • Working in isolated areas
  • Working late shifts
  • Working in an environment where alcohol is served
  • Working in areas with high crime rates
  • Handling money with the public

Workers in the following occupations have an increased risk of witnessing a violent event:

  • Health care professionals
  • Law enforcement officers
  • Customer service representatives
  • Delivery drivers
  • Public service workers

What Happens When a Worker Witnesses a Traumatic Event?

After a worker has been involved in a crisis or catastrophe, they generally have one of the following psychological reactions:

  • Eustress: This type of stress can be beneficial and motivates the person to move on with their life.
  • Distress: While this type of stress can be excessive, most people demonstrate resilience and don’t show it is interfering in their life.
  • Dysfunction: This level of stress can impair a person and affect their ability to perform everyday activities.

How Can We Support Workers After a Traumatic Event?

Crisis intervention, sometimes called psychological first aid, can be used to help workers recover after witnessing a traumatic event. Through small group discussions, workers are able to express their thoughts and feelings about their trauma, while a crisis interventionist observes them to look for signs of stress and discomfort. The purpose of crisis intervention is to reduce traumatic stress and to provide support and encouragement to those who want to overcome their trauma.

San Antonio Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Have you or a loved one witnessed a traumatic event at work? If so, you should immediately consult with our legal team to learn about your rights. At The Law Office of George P. Escobedo & Associates, PLLC , we are committed to helping workers throughout Texas. Our legal professionals will review the details of your case and use our extensive resources to pursue the compensation you are entitled to.

Call (210) 807-3178 to schedule your free consultationwith a workers’ compensation attorneyin San Antonio. We are here to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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