Critical Incident Stress Management Program

Traumatic incidents such as an employee's natural or unnatural death, the death of an employee's spouse or child, workplace assaults, employee illness, or natural disasters at the workplace can leave employees stunned, disturbed, depressed, and unable to perform their jobs effectively. Employees may experience a range of reactions including deterioration of job performance, personality change, anxiety, inability to concentrate, co-worker conflicts, grief reactions, and depression.

DynaPro Enterprises's Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) Program is an effective tool to help managers respond to workplace trauma. Our program provides you with a means to help employees deal with the emotions, aftermath, and stressors associated with a traumatic event.

What is Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM)?

CISM, increasingly used as a risk management strategy, is designed to help employers and employees deal with the affects of a traumatic event or critical incident. Perhaps the most recognized element of CISM is known as the Debriefing - a structured on-site individual or group intervention that occurs shortly after the event. Debriefings provide individuals an opportunity to discuss their feelings and thoughts about a distressing event in a controlled and rational manner. Employees learn about stress reactions and symptoms, and acquire additional skills and resources that can help them with the healing process.

The preferred route to crisis management is prevention, and DynaPro Enterprises would like to partner with you before an incident occurs.

It is important to pay attention to the emotional aspects of trauma as it relates to individuals performing their jobs whether it involves an emergency responder, an event in the schools, a bank robbery, an injury in a factory, or a natural disaster. Trauma shatters our fundamental assumptions about ourselves and about the safety of our world. The use of techniques such as defusing, demobilization, or debriefings can help the worker exposed to trauma in dealing with the emotional impact of witnessing such events.

Trauma can produce symptoms in individuals including anxiety, fears, depression, nightmares, nausea, memory loss, and identification with the victim, flashbacks, fear of repetition, fatigue, and problem solving difficulties. This can be a normal response to the acute stress," adds Kendall. "Anticipating these reactions through a psycho-educational process such as a debriefing can help reduce the intensity and longevity of stress responses.

Examples of Critical Incidents in the Workplace

  • Serious injury, death or suicide of an employee or contractor
  • Multiple casualty incidents
  • Violence in the workplace
  • Shocking incidents which occur suddenly and may attract media attention
  • Robbery or assault at business establishments
  • Fatal accident witnessed by co-workers
  • Explosion at local plant - multiple workers injured
  • Medical emergency of a co-worker (i.e. CPR initiated by workers)
  • Accidental amputation of extremity
  • Structure fire resulting in need to evacuate workers
  • Chemical exposure resulting in the need to evacuate workers
  • Natural disaster resulting in damage and/or injuries
  • Hostage situation at worksite

Stress Reactions following a Critical Incident

Physical Reactions:

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • Health problems
  • Under activity
  • Exhaustion

Emotional Reactions:

  • Depression
  • Guilt
  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of helplessness
  • Anger
  • Scapegoating
  • Irritability
  • Frustration with bureaucracy

Cognitive Reactions:

  • Difficulty with concentration
  • Difficulty with problem solving
  • Memory problems

It is important to deal with the emotional responses after the physical welfare is insured. Dealing with the emotional impact of such events allows these workers to continue, marked by the memories of the event, yet again able to perform their duties.

Providing Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) services to employees affected by a crisis will:

  • reduce the negative consequences of a crisis
  • result in a quicker return to productivity levels
  • lead to improved relationships with co-workers
  • result in less stress on family relationships