An Arbroath-based safety training company has rolled out the UK’s only industry approved trauma stress management (TSM) course to a team of former military personnel from the Netherlands and UK.
Created by IED Training Solutions, which was set up in 2015 by former Royal Marines Ian Clark and Paul Barrett, it is the only such course to be endorsed by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), the world’s largest professional health and safety membership organisation.
The TSM course is a proactive, peer group-delivered management strategy that aims to keep employees of organisations functioning after incidents or accidents that may otherwise manifest into worry, stress, anxiety or depression for the person concerned.
Based on clinical research – which shows that most people who encounter a traumatic incident or accident can adjust well and suffer no long-term ill effects – it was developed by Ian and Paul, who deliver the course along with a number of former Royal Marine colleagues who work as consultants with IED Training Solutions.
The pair, who have a combined military service of more than 40 years, served on numerous tours of duty throughout their careers, including in Afghanistan where Paul suffered the ‘ultimate workplace injury’ when he stepped on an enemy landmine – or Improvised Explosive Device (IED) – in 2009, causing catastrophic injuries. Six years of rehabilitation followed, during which time Ian was by his side as he recovered and learned to walk again.
Leading the Dutch delegation was Hugo Blom, himself a former Commander in the Royal Netherlands Navy. Hugo, who has a background in logistics, spent much of his early career at sea with the Royal Marines, before moving to the UK for a three-year posting to NATO in Northwood, near London.
He left the Navy in 2014, and joined Shell’s maritime department (Shell Trading and Shipping Company) as deputy Company Security Officer. On leaving the company at the end of 2016, he moved back to the Netherlands where he set up his own risk management company, Antaeus Risk Management, in April this year. He met Ian and Paul at IED Training Solutions soon after.
“When Ian introduced me to the TSM concept, I was immediately impressed by it,” he said. “I was particularly taken with Ian and Paul’s stories and authenticity, as well as the concept itself – just knowing that it has a formal place in the integrated management system of a company that wants to take care of its people is very appealing.
“I like the fact that the model provides a systematic approach to how you can deal with an employee in your care who has suffered a traumatic, work-related, experience. It can be very difficult as a line-manager, but also as an employee, to reach out to someone who is going through such an experience, and I feel that a TSM system would be a real asset and of real benefit to both sides.”
HSE statistics show that some 11.3million working days are lost in the UK due to stress, anxiety or depression, at an estimated cost to employers of £3.7billion.
IED Director Ian described the TSM course as a ‘common sense’ approach to personnel management after a traumatic incident or event.
‘No organisation is exempt from a crisis situation, but the TSM model ensures that the correct training and procedures are in place to deal with individuals who may have been affected,” he said.
“It definitely offers an enhancement to existing health and safety management systems with a real focus on the duty of care legal requirement. Having the ability to talk to a trained TSM practitioner within an organisation will make the individual feel valued and that someone cares.
“We are very much looking forward to developing what we hope will be a strong and lasting relationship with the team. I think their interest in the TSM model shows that the need to support those in the workplace who may have suffered a trauma is universal. Everyone needs to know that they are valued and supported, and our aim is to train others to provide that support.”