DEKRA recommends the swift intervention of an emergency psychologist

Making Sure the “Shock” Doesn’t Make You Sick

Sep 19, 2019

Anybody who suffers a traumatic experience in the workplace must receive prompt psychological support, say occupational health and safety experts and psychologists from DEKRA. The early intervention of an emergency psychological service helps to ensure that victims of workplace accidents or crime do not suffer long-term effects.

“Attacks and accidents in the workplace can cause deep psychological wounds – whether you were the victim, whether you caused the accident or whether you were a witness,” says Dr. Karin Müller, head of People & Health at DEKRA. “Long-term psychological issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder occur in around 20 to 30 percent of those affected if no expert help is sought,” says the psychologist.
Employers have a duty of care toward their employees, a duty that also encompasses psychological risks and the impact of traumatic events. Added to the personal suffering of those affected is the economic impact on the company – after all, illness following traumatic events has a considerable impact on an employee’s performance. Mental illnesses entail lengthy absences and treatment.
Certain occupational groups such as healthcare professionals, rescue workers, law enforcement officers, security guards, checkout staff, staff in social security offices as well as machine operators and professional drivers are at higher risk of suffering traumatic events. For these jobs, experts recommend also offering an emergency psychological service as part of occupational health management.
Immediately after a psychologically stressful event, people may exhibit a range of symptoms including flashbacks, sleep disorders, nightmares, helplessness, self-doubt, fear of failure, mood swings or increased consumption of alcohol or tobacco. Emergency psychologists should ideally be consulted early on to help with these kinds of stress responses and be there to provide longer-term support for the victims should symptoms persist. If the symptoms do not subside after two weeks, follow-up treatment should be arranged.
DEKRA supports employers throughout Germany with an emergency psychological service. Trained emergency psychologists raise awareness of prevention and intervene in emergencies. And with the digital DearEmployee process, DEKRA also offers an innovative tool for psychological risk assessment.