Workplace Accidents Can Lead to PTSD

Workers who are injured on the job can suffer from the effects of those injuries for years to come, sometimes their entire lives. When it comes to on-the-job injuries, most of the focus has to do with the physical scars. The fact is, however, accidents and injuries can take a huge toll on an injured employee’s state-of-mind, as well. Severe workplace accidents can lead to PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that develops after exposure to a particular frightening event or ordeal. While many people associate PTSD only with soldiers, other circumstances—including a serious workplace accident—can cause it as well.

While it is not clear why some workers will develop PTSD following a traumatic workplace accident while others won’t, there are some common factors that are believed to contribute to PTSD.

  • The intensity of the trauma or accident
  • The length of the incident
  • If not an actual victim of the accident, how close the worker was to person or people who were injured or killed
  • How close in proximity a worker was to the incident
  • How in control a worker felt during the event
  • The level of support received during the aftermath of the event and further down the road

Those who suffer from PTSD may have a difficult time just getting through the day. While PTSD symptoms often start very soon after a traumatic event, this is not always the case. In some people, the symptoms may show up much later.

Some of the most common symptoms of PTSD include frequent flashbacks, nightmares, emotional detachment, loss of memory, difficulty concentrating, and the loss of close relationships. Symptoms also include irritability, fear, insomnia, anger, guilt, shame, and destructive behaviors such as drinking too much or doing drugs.

It is important that following any traumatic workplace accident, employers encourage workers to seek help if they experience any of the symptoms of PTSD. While many construction workers see PTSD as a sign of weakness, it is important to stress that they know that this is not the case. It also is important that they know where to turn for help.

Overcoming PTSD is not a quick or easy process. However, with proper support—and many times the help of a mental health professional—those who suffer from PTSD are able to cope with their symptoms and significantly reduce their levels of anxiety.

Train. Protect. Prevent