White Card Update: Dealing with the Emotional Stress of a Workplace Injury

Although it is only the second month of the year we have already experienced 10 workplace deaths and 5 of these were from the construction industry. In addition to these deaths there have been a number of workplace injuries varying in severity from very serious to minor injuries. While safety is the top priority in any industry, injuries do happen. Regardless of how careful you are when working with machinery, equipment, building materials, debris and other tradespeople there is always room for injury. In addition to the physical recovery that workers that are injured have to go through, it may also be necessary to deal with the emotional stress that can result from an injury.

While stress can impact a person’s ability to work efficiently causing injuries, sometimes the effects are reversed and injuries are the cause of stress. For this reason it is important to deal with injuries and the stress they cause rather than ignore the feelings of depression, fear and anxiety that workers may experience.

It is normal that workers who suffer debilitating injuries to experience feelings of anxiety and frustration. Emotional stress can lead to stomachaches, irritable bowel syndrome, and headaches which can in turn make the anxiety worse. Experts have noticed that experiencing a traumatic event can have an impact on the development of pain.

Read what the experts have to say, this excerpt was taken from a post on Psychologytoday.com:

During a traumatic event, the nervous system goes into survival mode (the sympathetic nervous system) and sometimes has difficulty reverting back into its normal, relaxed mode again (the parasympathetic nervous system). If the nervous system stays in survival mode, stress hormones such as cortisol are constantly released, causing an increase in blood pressure and blood sugar, which can in turn reduce the immune system’s ability to heal. Physical symptoms start to manifest when the body is in constant distress.

If someone has experienced a trauma prior to their current injury or trauma, old memories can potentially be triggered, exacerbating the effects of the newer traum.

Read more: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/somatic-psychology/201004/the-connections-between-emotional-stress-trauma-and-physical-pain

One of the best ways to combat stress and anxiety caused by injuries and time off work is to begin to useful again by getting back to doing the things you normally would. That includes doing things around the house, chores and even returning to work on light duty.

A Return to Work Coordinator can assist an injured worker to remain at or return to work as soon as safely possible after injury. The return to work coordinator can plan the worker’s return to work if they require time away from work to recover and make decisions to progress their return. They will also monitor progress and consult with your health practitioner and occupational rehabilitation provider and monitor your healing and progress. They can also assist both you as the worker and your employer to meet obligations regarding the incident.



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