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Case 2: Severe post traumatic stress disorder following severe burns to hands trapped in machine

Organisation

A leading food producer in the UK and Ireland, with 19 operating sites across the UK and Ireland specialising in chilled, bakery and frozen food production, with a workforce of 11,500 people.

Accident

Accident occurred in May 2004 to a 32 year old male team leader at a food manufacturing site. While threading film onto a hot sealing machine the top head came down trapping both hands and causing full thickness burns.  He was taken to hospital by ambulance and admitted for 7 days.

Intervention

OHA were notified in June 2004. All physical treatment needs were met by the NHS following successful skin grafts.

OHA liaised with injured party’s representative over a period of weeks. The employee had limited grasp of English. Potential psychological injuries that might require further intervention/treatment were identified. In July 2004 OHA contacted the employee’s GP who confirmed psychological trauma and depression and had no objections to OHA arranging psychological input.

OHA sourced an appropriately qualified Urdu speaking practitioner and arranged assessment. Some delay experienced as the employee needed to return to Pakistan following the death of a family member. Assessment finally arranged for November 2004 at which a diagnosis was made of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the severe range.

Treatment commenced and continued over the next 12 months for the debilitating impact the PTSD had on the employee. All treatment for his burns continued via the NHS and he required several hospital attendances each week, again for over 12 months.

Cognitive behavioural therapy was finally completed in November 2005 by which time the employee had made sufficient progress to consider in re-integration back into the workplace, albeit at a considered pace.

Discussions held with Human Resources who advised they could not offer him a suitable position and therefore would have to dismiss him in line with company policy.  OHA argued the case in favour of the employee and the negative impact that this would have on his progress to date. HR re-considered their decision and he was able to return to work on a graduated basis in December 2005.

Cost of treatment and savings

£5170 for cognitive behavioural therapy.

The employee’s symptoms were so severe that without this intervention it is very doubtful whether he would have been be fit to resume any form of employment. Having returned to work after 18 months absence, all parties concerned viewed this as a positive result against the odds.

Updated 2012-11-29