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An Inside Look Into the Psychological Effects of Workplace Accidents

Update Date: Dec 17, 2020 02:05 PM EST
An Inside Look Into the Psychological Effects of Workplace Accidents
(Photo : An Inside Look Into the Psychological Effects of Workplace Accidents)

Workplace accidents pose a significant risk to workers, not only physical health but also psychological well-being. Regardless of the nature of your work, there's always a possibility of sustaining an injury on-the-clock. Whether you misuse a kitchen knife, fall victim to a construction site accident, or slip and fall due to an unexpected spill, injury-prevention should be a top priority. 

Unfortunately, workers across all occupations and industries suffer injuries that result in serious, life-threatening situations. A recent survey by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that over 229,000 workers missed their work due to injuries. Twenty-six percent of the non-fatal injuries resulted from trips, slips, and falls, and 24 percent of all fatalities occurred from automobile accidents.

Other common workplace injuries include muscle strain, being hit by falling objects, crashes and collisions, exposure to loud noise, inhaling toxic fumes, and more. In most cases, supervisors and first-responders tend to focus on workplace injuries' physical effects without considering the victim's emotional pain radiating just below the surface. 

However, we all must understand the importance of sound mental health. If you're a construction accident victim, you may need to seek justice by consulting the legal professionals at Schwartzapfel Lawyers. Otherwise, the emotional toll may become too much to bear. For those unfamiliar with the psychological effects of workplace accidents, look no further. Here are some of the most common ways workplace accidents negatively impact a victim's mental health. 


Depression often occurs due to traumatic situations where a person feels intense pressure from their employer to dismiss the injuries' severity. If the victim is experiencing harassment, emotional abuse, partial or full blame, or violence in the workplace, general sadness or discontent can escalate to full-blown depression episodes. 

Depression can make you feel uncomfortable at work and even trigger serious health issues. Some of the symptoms of depression include irritability, fatigue, suicidal thoughts, trouble concentrating, and feeling sad and empty.


The Anxiety and Depression Disorders Association of America indicates that anxiety disorders are the leading mental illness in America, affecting about 18 percent of the U.S population 18 years and above annually. 

While anxiety and stress are normal in workplaces, heavy doses can trigger health complications that might cause disabilities. Some workplace situations like violent interactions, workplace accidents, or deaths are common causes of anxiety. 

Signs of anxiety include insomnia, fatigue, racing heart, excessive worrying, and exaggerated startle reflex. If not treated earlier, this anxiety can trigger severe health conditions such as panic attacks, heart conditions, cognitive impairments, breathing problems, and more.

Lasting effects from Head Injury

A person may experience a physical injury to the head and recover, but the pain manifests and later cause cognitive issues. Head injuries such as trauma can take a long time to disappear completely. In severe cases, head injuries can cause forgetfulness, impulsiveness, loss of competitive skills, and personality changes.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) occurs when an employee experiences a terrifying event and can cause devastating symptoms. A victim may experience constant flashbacks, irritability, panic attacks, difficulties concentrating. In particular cases, a PTSD patient may also exhibit violent or avoidant behaviors. If left untreated, PTSD can have a debilitating effect on a person's behavior and work performance.

Poor workplace relationships

Even after recovery, some employees still experience post-accident stress, negatively impacting their relationships with other workers. Strained relationships are a virtually guaranteed side effect of accidents resulting in permanent disability. 

If the amount of interaction starts to taper off, an injured employee may feel banished to the company's outskirts. If the person affected is treated sometime after the accident, they may harbor resentment. This resentment can lead to negative feelings, causing the victim to isolate themselves from the rest of the pack. 


While less visible, employers should treat workplace accidents' emotional wounds with the same concern and empathy afforded to physical injuries sustained on the job. After all, declining mental health can reduce employee productivity, negatively affecting the employee and employer alike. 

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