What is a Critical Incident and How do You Manage it?

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Health Assured team

23 January 2018

In the workplace, it’s essential to keep things moving, even through tough times. Critical incidents can happen unexpectedly, and as an employer, you should have plans in place to ensure staff are thoroughly supported, during and after what can be an incredibly emotional time. But, what exactly is a critical incident? Read on to discover everything you or any managers need to know about how one should be managed in the workplace.

What is a critical incident?

A traumatic event, such as an injury, violent assault or death, becomes critical in the working environment when it receives a strong emotional response from any staff and disrupts production and the functionality of workers. Critical incidents are normally measured in severity, from minor to severe, and you may conclude from staff’s responses that they are unable to function normally. They can display many symptoms of shock including anger, shame, anxiety or depression but everyone responds to situations differently, so any support needs to be tailored to individuals.

Early response

Such critical events need to be dealt with as early as possible, and those doing so should support staff with compassion and care due to the impact that the critical events have had. Incidents like these can be so traumatic that they may affect an entire team of workers, in varying degrees. This means managing the situation can be very difficult and needs a tactical, professional approach.

Employ a Critical Incident Stress Management service

It is vital that staff are trained to deal with traumatic events effectively, which is a competent standard of critical incident management. It’s also important that staff know that they will always be reassured and supported in the workplace. However, if you or any managers don’t feel capable of helping staff after a critical incident, a professional can be employed to assist. For the more severe incidents, we’d recommend your workplace employ a CISM, or a Critical Incident Stress Management debrief, as this gives staff the opportunity to talk one-on-one with a trauma counsellor. Our CISM service offers 24/7 phone support which helps staff to manage their thoughts and feelings, as well as on-site diffusing support which caters to both groups and individuals.

Consider the future

You never know when a critical incident might happen and affect an entire workplace, so it is always best to have a plan in place, should similar events occur in future. Critical incident management includes post-incident support, which is available to businesses to prepare staff ahead of future traumatic incidents. This form of training is extremely important as it teaches staff to learn how to stay calm, while supporting others.

Learn from the experience

When you employ the help of CISM service, you will have a greater insight into employees and how they deal with upsetting situations. This will ultimately make you or any managers better equipped for offering support and guidance. Here at Health Assured, we offer a comprehensive CISM service, to help staff prepare for and recover after a traumatic experience. To find out more about how we can help your business, get in touch today.

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