When your worker feels unsafe or at risk

There may be times in your worker's recovery journey where they feel unsafe or at a risk of hurting themselves or others.

Some workers may not feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, feelings or behaviours, but there are some signs that you as an employer can look out for.

They may show signs of:

  • withdrawing from other people or isolating themselves
  • expressing feelings of hopelessness or feeling like a burden to others
  • change in their presentation: demonstrating anger, recklessness, overwhelmed or numbness
  • changes in their appearance or hygiene
  • struggling to maintain a routine
  • increased use of alcohol or other substance abuse
  • giving away possessions such as sentimental belongings
  • getting stuck in negative thoughts about themselves and the future
  • describing intrusive thoughts
  • evidence of self-harming behaviours
  • describing flashbacks from a traumatic event
  • planning or thinking of ways to die.

What should I do if my employee discloses a risk to me, or I am concerned for their safety?

If you receive information from your employee that they feel unsafe and you are unable to confirm their immediate safety, please call emergency services on 000.

The emergency services will send out the appropriate support team to complete a risk assessment and determine what immediate assistance the worker needs.  This may involve a psychiatrist at a hospital reviewing the worker.

If your worker confirms their safety but suggests that they need additional support during this time, please notify their case manager as soon as possible.

You may also wish to direct your employee to one of the many mental health support services that have 24/7 hotlines.

Beyond Blue has developed a list of all the national mental health helplines, crisis support hotlines and support groups that are available for free.

The role of the case manager when they are notified of a high-risk incident

When the case manager is made aware of a potential risk of harm, there is a process that they need to follow.

The first and most important step is to ensure the safety of those at risk.

To do this, they may need to call:

  • the worker's doctor
  • the worker's psychiatrist or psychologist
  • emergency services
  • other individuals who may be at risk of harm.

A notification of risk is always treated seriously; the case manager must act to ensure the safety of anyone who is at risk.

Tagged in: