A recent rise in workplace violence has caused many employees to suffer serious harm on the job. Victims of workplace assaults are often severely traumatized, injured, disabled or even killed. Witnesses to workplace violence are also at risk of psychological harm, including post-traumatic stress disorder, as Woodstock worker compensation attorneys know.
Recent cases of workplace violence
According to a recent CNN report, 397 deaths on the job during 2013 were classified as workplace homicides. Tens of thousands of employees were also hurt in workplace attacks. High-profile cases in recent years include a case of arson at an Illinois air traffic control tower and a gruesome beheading after a man was laid off from a processing plant in Oklahoma. 80 percent of fatal workplace attacks involve murder with a firearm.
Effects of workplace violence on witnesses
For every person hurt or killed by workplace attacks, there are often multiple witnesses who are scarred for life by seeing the incident. Woodstock worker compensation attorneys know that the effects of witnessing an attack may include the following:
- Major depression
- Severe anxiety
- Constant self-blame
- Disrupted family relationships
- Absenteeism or unexplained sick days
- Decreased ability to function on the job and at home
In some cases, the psychological response to an assault in the workplace may become full-blown post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD is a constellation of anxiety symptoms that can be life-threatening.
PTSD on the job
Employees with PTSD often struggle with the tasks of their job. Situations that remind them of the assault may cause severe anxiety and psychological distress. In some cases, workers may be forced to retire involuntarily from a particular line of work and seek vocational rehabilitation for a new job. A 43-year-old postal worker in Chicago found the symptoms of PTSD so intolerable after a fatal shooting in the workplace that he had to abandon his two-decade career in the postal service and spend several years training for a new career in carpentry.
Workers’ compensation for PTSD
If employees are suffering from PTSD because of traumatic events in the workplace, they may be eligible for workers’ compensation. Such cases are more common than people might imagine. According to the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, one-sixth of deaths on the job are caused by deliberate violence. These events leave a permanent mark on the lives and careers of many workers.
Workers with PTSD are not alone. They have options for help and recovery. Traumatized employees may find it useful to call Woodstock worker compensation attorneys about their case.