Coworkers are like another family. We spend so much time with them—working together, helping each other, and experiencing success and failures together. When the relationships with our coworkers are great, everyone is set to give their best at work. That’s why when a coworker dies at work, the impact on the people he or she worked with can be powerful.
If a coworker dies on the job due to a safety prevention mistake, it’s a tragedy that you should know how to handle appropriately.
How people cope with a loss depends on different factors—from the presence of other stressors in their lives to their personal beliefs. We may become preoccupied with a coworker’s death and get distracted from work.
If a safety lapse was the cause of the death, guilt can be overwhelming, leading to an even greater loss of concentration. Distraction can present an additional safety hazard, especially for those monitoring product quality, performing intricate operations, and operating equipment.
Coworkers may also become irritated and intense, making an already stressful job even worse or translating the stress to other areas of their lives.
Coping with your emotions
Even if your work environment is normally ordered, the death of an employee can disrupt it and bring chaos. A company cannot stop the production to let its employees cope with grief, but what it can do is provide counseling to coworkers, especially anyone who witnessed the fatal accident.
In the wake of trauma, being considerate to the psychological well-being of employees could help everyone recover more quickly. Besides counseling, you and other colleagues can share your grief in many ways, like getting together after work or at lunch to share your memories of the late friend and your feelings.
An employee suffering a fatal injury at work will have consequences on company production and morale. In addition to their mourning, other co-workers are left with a troubling question: “Could that be me?” That’s not good for them, and it’s not good for the company. It obviously wasn’t good for the person who passed. Safety can literally be a life-and-death issue.