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Workplace trauma and its prevalence

Every business is susceptible to workplace trauma, regardless of what the business deals with or how big or small the business is. Any traumatic event that happens in the geographic vicinity of a particular workplace can result in workplace trauma for the employees of that workplace. As such, the situations which can cause workplace trauma are varied. Furthermore, any big change in a company or organization can be traumatic for the people who work within that company or organization, and can thus be considered a workplace trauma. Workplace trauma is physical or psychological damage that happens due to an unplanned and undesirable event, resulting in an employee being unable to complete their work as they had previously. The kind of workplace trauma that occurs most frequently and what can be done to prevent these incidents is as follows.

Violence at work:

It has become increasingly common for office politics or personal arguments within the workplace to turn into violent fights and as a result serious physical injury. This kind of workplace trauma can be prevented by a company training employees on how to handle violent situations appropriately and by devising channels of communication so that employees can report situations that they feel may escalate.

Injury caused by overexertion

Lifting, pulling, holding, pushing, carrying and throwing are all actions that can cause injury due to overexertion. The easiest way to prevent these injuries is to train employees of the correct form to use when performing tasks that require these actions. For example, in a job that requires a lot of lifting, employees should know that that they ought to lift using their knees and not their back. Furthermore, employees should use equipment to make their job easier, and take enough breaks to avoid overexertion.

Slipping and tripping at work

Slipping or tripping at work can result in a plethora of physical injuries. This cause for workplace trauma can be prevented by using signage to indicate uneven or slippery floors, as well as cables on the floor. It is also important to use non-slip rugs in slippery areas. Lastly, employees should be trained to clean up debris and spills correctly.

Injuries caused by repetitive motions

Repetitive motions as seemingly innocuous as typing or excessive use of a computer can cause muscle and tendon strains, resulting in back pain and vision problems for example. To prevent this type of workplace trauma, employers should supply correct ergonomic support and training for their employees. Moreover, whenever possible, employees should take breaks to stretch and rest their eyes.

Injuries caused by motor vehicle crashes.

It is relatively common for employees, who drive as part of their job, to be injured as a result of car accidents. At times these can be fatal. It is thus vital that employees are provided safe-driving training and are instructed on policies for safe driving, including not to be distracted or defensive when driving.

These or just five of some of the more common work place traumas; there are many more incidents that can cause work place trauma, and should be taken seriously by employees. It is important that businesses do what they can to prevent workplace trauma from happening, and that in the event of a workplace trauma occurring, they handle it in the best way possible for the well-being of the individuals affected, as well as of the business.

Contact psychologist Louw Alberts for workplace trauma counselling. Louw Alberts has rooms in the Centurion, Pretoria area.

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