Michael Tunnecliffe - BSS Employee Assistance - Critical Incident Response


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Michael Tunnecliffe delivered the presentation at the 2014 Perth Safety in Action Conference.

The 2014 Perth Safety in Action Conference focused on enhancing compliance, productivity and affordability for big and small business. Highlights included an international keynote address from Neville Rockhouse, the Safety and Training Manager for Pike River Coal in New Zealand.

For more information about the event, please visit: http://www.safetyinaction.com.au/SIAPerth14

Published in: Business, Health & Medicine
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Michael Tunnecliffe - BSS Employee Assistance - Critical Incident Response

  1. 1. CRITICAL INCIDENT RESPONSE Michael Tunnecliffe Clinical Psychologist
  2. 2. www.bsspsych.com.au Critical Incident …. a sudden, unexpected event which has the potential to cause disruption to routines and functioning and create a significant degree of stress for those involved. • Confusion and possible indecision • Loss of immediate control • Escalating impact • Communication breakdown • Stress impact across the organisation. 2
  3. 3. www.bsspsych.com.au Critical Incident Typology Critical Incidents in the workplace tend to be of four types: •Ecological •Technological •Sociological •Medical. 3 BSS Employee Assistance CIR for the past 6 months Dec ‘13 to May ‘14 - Medical = 43% - Technical = 37% - Sociological = 20% - Ecological = 0% N = 30 Thousands of workers experience heart attacks at work every year. Australian Safety and Compensation Council (2006)
  4. 4. www.bsspsych.com.au Critical Incident Preparation The stressful impact of critical incidents over time can be reduced by: •Having a Critical Incident Response plan •Ensuring all key personnel know the plan •Using key people for communications •Having experienced support professionals available to respond (e.g. EAP Provider) •Training leaders in how to manage and assist their people after a critical incident. 4
  5. 5. www.bsspsych.com.au Critical Incident Stress Why are critical incidents stressful for those involved? Stress occurs for the individual when an event or incident, accidental or deliberate, invades a person’s sense of well-being and removes the sense of control they have over their life at that point in time. 5
  6. 6. www.bsspsych.com.au Mediators of Impact 6 Situational Variables Experience Personality IMPACT FACTORS Support Available Interpretation
  7. 7. www.bsspsych.com.au Impact Levels 7 Functioning Well Dysfunctional Adequately Functioning Impaired Distressed
  8. 8. www.bsspsych.com.au Psychological Safety This concept refers to the steps taken by an organisation to ensure the mental and emotional well-being of all personnel. Ensuring psychological safety: • Is a moral and legal requirement • Reduces organisational risk exposure • Shortens recovery times • Raises the morale of the work group. 8
  9. 9. www.bsspsych.com.au Legal Considerations “The onus is on employers to take measures to ensure their employees are not at risk and work situations do not cause stress.” “Employers are expected to think ahead to ensure employees are not put at mental risk and preventative steps are taken to ensure unsafe systems do not arise.” Professor Ron McCallum (ANU) 9
  10. 10. www.bsspsych.com.au Stress Exacerbation • On-going risk • Disruption of routines or re-location • Poor communications • Delayed decision-making • Inadequate support systems • Rumours and mis-information • Blame and recrimination. 10
  11. 11. www.bsspsych.com.au Effective Leadership • Act decisively to ensure the safety of all • Communicate key information • Deal with rumours promptly • Seek advice on psychological assistance • Get people involved and encourage talking • Listen to concerns raised • Organise practical and psychological support • Do not promise what can’t be delivered • Ensure follow-up assistance is in place. 11
  12. 12. www.bsspsych.com.au Key Communications • Prepare carefully the communications to be made • Provide authorised information with sensitivity • Give details of actions that have been taken • Advise everyone on what to expect • Outline the supports being made available • Provide details of plans for the foreseeable future • Outline when, where and how information will be updated. 12
  13. 13. www.bsspsych.com.au Psychological Support For the majority of personnel, the impact of a critical incident will be stressful. •Have Critical Incident support plan •Use a professionally qualified provider •Have a pre-existing agreement with your provider relating to: •Response time and professionals’ available •24/7 availability and follow-up support •Summary reports, fees and expenses. 13
  14. 14. www.bsspsych.com.au For a 16 point checklist for planning Critical Incident Response and support in your organisation, go to: www.bsspsych.com.au/BSS/Resources/ 14