Injuries are common in the workplace; more in some than others depending on the type of work you do. The physical injuries suffered exactly a significant toll but the mental anguish might be even more severe.
Employees who are injured as a result of workplace events may end up suffering from mental health issues even when they take time off work to recover. Depression is the most prevalent mental health affliction affecting people who take time off work to address workplace-related injuries.
There are many reasons why an employee may suffer from depression or anxiety as a result of a workplace injury. The struggles faced during this time can especially have a negative impact on injured employees.
There are things that every employer can do to prevent mental issues among injured employees including:
Employee Mental Health Programs
If you want to prevent mental issues at the workplace particularly among injured employees, then you should have one or several programs to help employees with their mental health. The better prepared they are to deal with such mental health issues, the better they will handle them.
Your employees should know that the company has their best interests at heart and that they can reach out whenever they have an issue. As it pertains to workplace injuries, such mental health programs should be accessible to employees even if they are taking time off work to recuperate from their injuries.
If an employee suffers from depression as a result of a workplace injury, it is often the case that they had pre-existing depression that was ignored and left untreated. The injury hence serves as a trigger to exacerbate the depression.
You should encourage employees to use the programs and deal with their mental health issues well before they have any type of injury. It will help prevent the long and complicated results of a workplace injury.
A significant part of a workplace injury is the legal ramifications that surround it. Therefore, workers should have access to legal services to receive adequate legal advice about their workplace injuries.
Workplace injury laws are typically made by the state hence an employee will need a local lawyer. For example, if you want to receive workers’ compensation in Georgia, then you should find a lawyer from the area. They will have experience dealing with similar cases in the state.
If an employer helps an employee gain access to legal services in such a situation, then it is likely that the issue will be resolved swiftly and cause much less mental anguish than otherwise. If the employee can receive the compensation they deserve, then you have a large chance of preventing mental issues in the workplace.
Return to Work Programs
It is particularly difficult for employees who were injured at work to return to the workplace after they recover. Therefore, you should have a quality return to work program that helps assimilate employees back into the business after their injuries.
One thing that a good return to work program should do for employees is to assure them of their position in the company. The risk of getting fired as a result of a workplace injury is one of the major causes of mental health afflictions in such employees.
Therefore, ensure that the company and the staff provide a supportive and safe environment for those employees returning to work after an injury. Their coworkers and superiors should have realistic expectations of what to expect from those returning from injury.
With a good return to work program, employees will have better mental standing about their role in the company both before and after their injury. It will make them increasingly productive up until when they can return to working at full capacity.
Promote Good Relationships in the Workplace
Humans are social creatures and the relationships we have are integral to our mental health and wellbeing. Therefore, if you want to prevent mental issues among injured employees, you should promote good relationships in the workplace.
One of the ways to reduce anxiety among employees is for them to know that the employer cares about their health and well-being. They will hence relax knowing that they will not be discarded at the first sign of a workplace injury.
You should particularly try and foster good relationships between employees and their superiors. If employees know that they can return to work with the full support of their supervisors, then they are likely to have fewer mental health issues.
Create a Positive Working Environment
The last thing anyone wants when returning to work after a workplace injury is to feel harshly judged. It will certainly increase any mental health issues they may have previously had.
You should hence try and foster a positive working environment. It makes staying away from and returning to work a much better experience than otherwise.
Create a work environment where all employees, from the lowest to the highest, feel appreciated. Moreover, help make their work as fun and pleasurable as possible.
Employees who return to a positive working environment are more likely to have fewer mental health issues than a negative one. It also offers motivation for a speedy recovery from the injury.
Stay Connected with Work
When an employee is injured, it is necessary that they take some time off work to recover from their injuries. However, it is also beneficial for them to retain some sort of connection to the workplace and their work.
Therefore, you should ensure that there are channels open where an injured employee can stay connected with work. Even joining meetings via phone calls or going to social company activities may be enough for an employee to retain a connection with work.
If the injuries are not that serious or the employee has sufficiently recovered from them, you should discuss flexible working arrangements with the employee. Working part-time or from home are solid examples of such arrangements. As long as they are contributing to the workplace, they should have better mental health.
Maintaining your mental health after a serious workplace injury is a daunting challenge. The six things outlined above are only a fraction of what an employer can do to ensure that their employees have great mental health. The more of them you implement, the better the chances of preventing mental illness after workplace injuries.