How a Death in the Workplace Impacts EmployeesJuly 18, 2019
The average person spends a significant amount of time at work. For people who work in high-risk jobs, like construction workers, police officers, and firefighters, this means that they are often exposed to serious injuries and illnesses, some of which are fatal. In addition to the initial feelings of shock and grief, people can experience a range of emotional responses when they witness a work-related death. It is important that employers recognize these emotional responses and provide employees with the resources they need to cope with those feelings in a productive and healthy way.
Researchers found that people process death in two different ways. Those who are more prone to anxiety are more likely to experience emotions like fear and panic when exposed to a work-related death. However, people who tend to be more reflective often focus on ways they can find meaning in their lives and develop a more positive outlook.
Understanding These Responses in the Workplace
Researchers conducted two studies to better understand the consequences of these different responses. In one study, researchers examined registered nurses and firefighters over a three-month period, and monitored their stress, anxiety, and work engagement. They collected absenteeism data from organizational records, which showed that the employees who had higher levels of anxiety were more likely to experience feelings of stress, were less engaged at work, and were more likely to skip work.
The second study focused on a group of firefighters who were asked to respond to questions about death reflection, their safety performance at work, and their overall satisfaction with life. The results showed that firefighters who were more reflective about death had a more positive outlook about their lives and were more likely to take appropriate safety precautions at work.
According to the researchers, employers can play an important role in helping workers who are dealing with the trauma of a work-related death. Implementing supportive practices and policies will help workers who are vulnerable to anxiety, particularly young workers, and those who are new or inexperienced. Educational programs can teach proactive coping skills for employees who are struggling with the emotions associated with a death in the workplace. Employers who are effective role models are encouraged to create a culture that helps workers reflect on death, as opposed to avoiding talking about the subject, which can lead to increased feelings of anxiety and stress on the job.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Help Workers Secure Maximum Benefits
If you work in a high-risk job, the exposure to death can take a toll on your emotional health. The Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton will walk you through the claims process and address all your questions and concerns. Our dedicated and compassionate legal team will ensure that you receive the maximum financial benefits you deserve. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online. Located in Baltimore, we serve clients throughout Maryland.