Critical incident and significant event management

An appropriate response to a critical incident is essential for the wellbeing and resilience of those impacted. The response can have significant impacts on the post-incident recovery trajectory for impacted staff.

Positive Solutions provides a prompt, flexible and tailored approach to responding to critical incidents. We work with the organisation on a case-by-case basis to ensure that the response is appropriate for the immediate and ongoing needs of that organisation and those who have been impacted.

Positive Solutions offers individual and relationship counselling as well as a range of specialised counselling services

Critical Incidents

A critical incident is any event that occurs suddenly, is unexpected, presents a threat and causes a significant emotional response. The reaction and recovery times will be different for each individual and as such the support that they may require will also vary.

An appropriate response to a critical incident is essential for the wellbeing and resilience of those impacted. It can have significant impacts on the post-incident recovery trajectory for impacted staff. Under Work, Health and Safety laws, employers have an obligation to ensure a work environment does what is reasonably practicable to eliminate and reduce the psychological risks to workers and others at the workplace. This includes responding to critical incidents.

Psychological support for sudden, unexpected and potentially traumatic incidents

Positive Solutions provides a prompt, flexible and tailored approach to supporting staff and management to recover after a critical incident. Our team will assist you in developing a suitable and proportionate response to minimise the impact of a critical incident on your workplace. Group and individual support is available, and multiple on-site visits can be arranged to enable shift working staff to access support.

We regularly provide critical incident support for a range of incidents including death, violence and workplace accidents. Our guidelines and response to critical incidents are underpinned by a Psychological First Aid (PFA) model to effectively manage the risks of psychological trauma, where onsite support is recommended post 24 hours of an incident. Our support is based on two phased approach:

  • Psychological First Aid (PFA). Where appropriate a counsellor will attend the worksite (or another suitable location) and provide clinical and managerial support according to the principles of PFA. The counsellor provides staff with education about potential reactions, and ways to implement and maintain self-care. PFA focuses on helping people reduce immediate stress and to feel safe, identify supports and connections, build their capacity to recover through identification of strengths and abilities and create an appropriately hopeful future focus.
  • Follow Up. Those individuals who are identified at higher risk for psychological injury and maybe presenting an acute stress response may receive further follow up contact with Positive Solutions for the next week after the incident. This is based on the consent of that individual. The referrer will also be followed up by Positive Solutions after seven days to discuss any further support that may be required for both the organisation and individuals who may be impacted and continue to exhibit high stress responses.

Use the form below or call  our 1800 EAP number or 03 6223 5612 to get started!

Practical Psychological Support

Our trained practitioners can attend on-site or via TEAMs to assist staff and management in the wake of potentially traumatic events. This will be followed by follow up call/s and recommendations to management on how to best support themselves and their staff moving forward from the critical incident.

Common examples of critical incidents include:

  • Fatalities
  • Verbal or physical assault
  • Workplace accident
  • Serious mental or physical illnesses
  • Sensitive organisational change

Critical incident support provides the opportunity for assistance to management and team leaders, aiding these staff to both manage their own responses, and help support their employees. Our staff provide practical psychological support in accordance with the principles of the evidence-based PFA approach. As such we will never compel an individual to partake in the service.

In accordance with the principles of PFA, Positive Solutions does not encourage debriefing in the immediate aftermath of a critical incident. In alliance with best practice, we will endeavor to attend onsite 48-72 hours following a critical incident, rather than immediate attendance in the hours following a critical incident.

Universal provision of single-session psychological debriefing following a critical incident is not supported by evidence and may increase the risk of adverse outcomes. Rather, psychological support 48-72 hours after an event, providing individuals with support and coping strategies without compelling disclosure of emotional responses, assists individuals to manage following challenging situations.

Management are encouraged to support their staff in the hours following a critical incident by:

  • Sending affected staff home where possible
  • Encouraging accessing EAP
  • Encouraging staff to engage with their social networks
  • Refraining from commenting on varying styles of coping strategies staff may employ

Be Prepared for Critical Incident

We are able to work with your organisation in being able to prepare staff and managers to be able to manage a critical incident. Working with you, we will embed procedures and provide training to your organisation to proactively prepared in the event that there may be a serious incident.

Critical incident support can be organised via our 1800 number available 24/7 for our EAP Organisations or via contacting the details below. Support can be provided face to face, virtually or via phone.


Critical Incident Request Form