Introduction Violence in a developing country can be very common and particularly increases in an economic downturn. In a logistics company employing hundreds of drivers who sometimes face urban violence, this problem can be a great challenge for the occupational health as well as the security teams.
Methods A program to assist workers in dealing with violent incidents they encounter while working was developed in 2008. This program was developed to address legal, security, psychological, and occupational health requirements of these workers. The psychological support aspects of the program are accomplished by phone within 24 to 48 hours after the incident, with follow-ups after 15 and 30 day period.
Results Workers involved in violent incidents are provided with a company attorney when reporting the incident to the police. They also receive a phone call from a psychologist. The psychologist provides support, listening to the workers description of the incident, administering a psychological assessment, and then referring the worker for further therapy or to a psychiatrist when appropriate. Commonly, such incidents do not have physical ramifications for the worker but instead often have psychological consequences that are more difficult to measure. The same worker can experience several such assaults. Psychological issues can manifest with just one event, but there are some workers who have been involved in dozens of these events.
Discussion This support program for workers is important and necessary to help them to cope with violent incidents even when considering the ideal solution of preventing such incidents from occurring in the first place. The challenge for occupational health professionals is how to mitigate the consequences for the involved workers who are otherwise subject to potentially severe psychological and physical injuries. This program helps by opening a new communications channel and support avenue to assist the company in addressing such complex and delicate situations.
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