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Employers can effectively manage critical incidents with clear policies and procedures that are humane, sensitive, and responsive to workers. Intervention procedures may reduce the intense reactions of workers to an incident and assist them in returning to their duties. Types of interventions that could be held include:
Held within 6 to 8 hours of the incident, a defusing session is a brief confidential, non-judgmental group meeting of workers affected by the incident. It is critical to have experienced people specially trained to conduct a defusing session; this can include trained peers. The defuser explains the physical, emotional and mental reactions that workers may be experiencing, and how to take care of their emotional and physical health.
A debriefing session is ideally held within 24 to 72 hours after an incident. It is a confidential, non-judgmental discussion of the continuing effects of a traumatic incident on workers. The purpose of this session is to alleviate the trauma of affected workers, and to assist in the recovery process. Debriefing focuses on the emotional well being of workers – it does not attempt to find the cause of the accident or assign blame. Sessions should be lead by trained professionals and participation voluntary.
A critiquing session is held a few weeks after the incident. Employers, supervisors, and workers review all aspects of the incident to uncover deficiencies in the handling of the incident, and provide corrective solutions. The session looks at how the incident was handled, how it could have been handled better, how it could have been prevented, and the effectiveness of the intervention. Related company policies, safety regulations, safe work procedures are also reviewed.
Within 30 days of an incident, an employer conducts a broad review of all steps taken in response to the incident, including:
- First aid
- Emergency procedures
- Critical incident debriefing
- Accident investigation
- Corrective responses
- Claims management
The purpose of a corporate review is to assess the effectiveness of company's procedures, how the company responded, and suggest other corrective steps that should be put in place. This does not replace an accident investigation.