Albany companies work to avoid employee tragedies - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany companies work to avoid employee tragedies

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July 9, 2003

Lee County- Playing baseball with his 13-year-old son Gray is how Nick Carden relieves work-related stress.

Much of Carden's work as a psychologist involves helping employers deal with frustrated employees.

"It's not uncommon for me to get one or two calls a week asking about an employee from a supervisor," Carden said.

Supervisors who call Carden want to avoid tragedies like the one Tuesday in Meridian, Miss. A Lockheed Martin worker opened fire in the plant, killing five people, then himself.

Carden says there are two types of people who do this. People with a history of anger problems and people who have a low frustration tolerance. The Miller plant in Albany expects supervisors to know what's going on with their workers.

"The real eyes and ears on the floor typically would be your work-group managers and definitely talk and react to any situation where there is concern," said Kathy Riepenhoff, the human resources director at Miller.

There is also the Employee Assistance Program, that's used across the country.

"An individual or anyone in their family can seek professional help through an agency with trained professionals that's confidential."

It's for every line employee, but also for manager training. Often, these tragedies happen in plants or factories. The work is often repetitive and the environment high stress.

"These are the kinds of work environments that are very mundane, that are subject to long hours, that are subject to internal pressures," Carden said.

So Carden will keep guiding supervisors in the right direction, in hopes of avoiding problems before they turn into life-ending tragedies.

posted at 10:20 p.m. by brannon.stewart@walb.com