A Severe Accident Causes Workplace Trauma - Part 1 of 3

A Severe Accident Causes Workplace Trauma - Part 1 of 3

Most days going to work follows a fairly routine pattern. Up at the sound of the alarm, shower, dress, perhaps eat breakfast if time allows. For some, the day's routine includes getting children off to school or daycare as well. For the most part, we don't give much thought to the routine or expect much to differ from day-to-day. But for some of us, the day unfolds in a way that no one expects or could even foresee.

Let me share how a serious freak accident changed everything for one of my close friends. 

Here's Justin's story:

Justin's day started like every other day at his job site. His floor covering business was beginning to come into its own - profitable and growing. He had recently acquired many large commercial customers requiring removal of old flooring and installation of new. This day, his crew was preparing to remove the old tile floor at a customer's location. Justin was standing near the truck which held the ride-on floor scraper. He turned away for a moment and somehow the floor scraper broke loose, surged forward and fell on him. With this 2,000-pound floor scraper on him, Justin was bent in two with his head between his legs. His screams brought the crew members running. They somehow moved the scraper enough so that Justin could wriggle free screaming in severe pain. It all happened in less than a minute!

Justin was rushed to a nearby trauma center where he was examined. The emergency doctors determined that he was paralyzed from the waist down and needed emergency spinal surgery. As Justin was wheeled into surgery, he asked the surgeon about his chances of being back to normal. The surgeon responded that it was too early to know the outcome, but he would do his very best to repair his spine. Justin responded that the surgeon would have to do better than his very best because there were a lot of people whose livelihood and their families depended on it.

To think about his employees at a time like this is a glimpse into the type of man Justin is!

As a business coach focused on Workplace Trauma Solutions, I ask myself, how many of the business people I know would be able to handle such an unexpected business crisis. I am not talking about health insurance. Although that is important to have in place both for you and your employees. Instead, I'm asking about a plan to not only keep your business running but also to address the emotional and psychological fallout on your team. Here are some of the things this event has caused me to think about concerning withstanding such a workplace trauma event:

What if this was your workplace?

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    My friend Justin is the business sole owner. His job is to acquire new customers as well as supervise job-site work. The accident was so severe that three months later, he is still paralyzed and is undergoing physical therapy with no plan to return to work for the foreseeable future. Some employees are stepping into roles that they have not been prepared for or perhaps are not even capable of performing.  
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    Justin's accident has had a severe impact on many people. They, too, have had to adjust to work and daily living in different ways. For example, his wife (who could be your employee) took a leave of absence on the day of the accident and remains by her husband's side caring for him as he adjusts to a new "normal." Her role as caretaker, going forward, will most likely affect her workplace going forward. In part two of this blog, I will cover some of the issues surrounding how Justin's injury affected his wife's workplace and how your company could proactively respond to this type of workplace trauma.
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    The employees who witnessed the accident had an emotional impact on them that might not be immediately apparent to other company employees.
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    There is also the financial impact caused by the possibility of a loss of income if the company can not sustain new and continuing business. 

Have you considered how you would keep your business going if you or one of your key employees is suddenly incapacitated and unable to work? In part two and three of this blog, I'll cover some of the issues and employee concerns surrounding this type of workplace trauma and offer suggestions for being prepared, both from an employee and company perspective. 

Trauma is one of the most difficult workplace events for managers to deal with positively, proactively, and productively. Due to many urgent issues that managers deal with, there is a tendency to put off training. However, being prepared to address employee needs is recommended.                   Linda Trignano, WorkplaceTraumaSolutions.com

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ARE YOU PREPARED?

With trauma, it is not a question of whether or not it will hit your company; it is a question of when. My advice as a business coach is to be prepared for when. My newly published workbook entitled "Workplace Trauma Solutions - A Workbook for Managers" guides you step-by-step so that you and your staff are ready to deal with trauma, grief, and loss. Read more at ​Workbook for Workplace Trauma Solutions 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

As the founder of Trignano Consulting, LLC, I have a diverse blend of corporate and entrepreneurial experience with expertise in communications, sales and business development, human resources, and coaching. I offer professional workplace trauma solutions with a human resources and management focus from early stages to late stages of trauma, grief, and loss. My process is compassionate and in-depth. After an initial consultation, I prepare a tailored program based on your specific needs. Coaching encompasses one-to-one manager or staff member training or the entire team or company. If you are interested in setting up a training class or Lunch & Learn at your office, contact me at www.WorkplaceTraumaSolutions.com or 551-800-1127.