Every year in America, millions of workers are injured on the job or become ill as a result of hazards in the workplace.
According to workplace injury statistics, these injuries and illnesses cost a staggering $1 billion every week. As an employer, you have a legal and moral obligation to protect your employees and safeguard their health at work.
A workplace injury could have a cascading wave of negative effects on your business. You’ll lose productivity when they miss work. Your reputation may also take a hit and your insurance rates could go up.
Here are some important steps to take care of things as amicably as possible (and prevent future incidents).
Taking Fast Action
The first 24 hours of the accident are the most critical. Your actions will dictate what will happen weeks or months later.
You need to investigate the incident, interview any witnesses at the scene, and help the injured worker. This could prevent them from getting an otherwise unnecessary workers’ comp lawyer.
Start By Assessing the Injury
The first thing you have to do once you learn about the incident is to assess the workplace injury and the worker.
A quick medical response can be all that’s needed to prevent the injury from becoming a fatality. If your company or site has a medical response team or a safety supervisor, you need to alert them immediately.
If you’re facing a life-threatening issue, you should also call 911. If the injuries are mild, you can have the worker treated by the healthcare provider assigned to the company by the workers’ comp insurance carrier.
Of course, you can also go to the nearest health care center or clinic, all of which will depend on the kind of injuries you’re facing.
Secure the Scene of the Accident
If you’re facing a slip and fall accident as a result of a wet floor, correct the problem or block it off so no one else gets hurt. If the accident involved workplace equipment or other serious things, you need to secure the scene as soon as possible.
Limit access as well to preserve evidence. You also need to prevent secondary accidents from happening. Have a reliable manager secure the area and save any materials or substances involved in the incident.
Report the Accident
Once you’re done taking care of the injured employee or employees, you need to report the accident to OSHA.
It’s vital for you to talk to all the witnesses or check your CCTV cameras to get an accurate account of what happened. It’s also essential that you take pictures of the scene and comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
All employers are required to prepare and report workplace injuries, illnesses, or fatalities using the OSHA Form 300. You must notify OSHA when workers are hospitalized, lose an eye, or require amputation. Beyond that, understand that fatalities need to be reported within 8 hours.
The other injuries must be reported within 24 hours, and it’s crucial for you to be truthful in the report. You’ll face fines and penalties if they find out there are discrepancies or inaccuracies in the report. You should also file the “First Notice of Loss” with your workers’ compensation insurance carrier within 24 hours of the accident.
Communicate Your Concern With Injured Party
It’s in your best interest to keep open communications with the injured employee and show them your concern.
By communicating with them and showing empathy, they will feel that their health and safety is the company’s priority. This can keep them from filing a lawsuit out of spite.
Ensure they get the proper treatment they deserve, especially if they suffered back, neck, sprain, or strain injuries. These are some of the most common workplace injuries and could result in high claim costs. You should also communicate with the other employees in your company, whether they were directly or indirectly impacted by the incident.
Follow up With the Workers’ Comp Claim
After an injury, it’s important for you to work with the employee and help them get the compensation they deserve from the insurance company.
You need to keep open communication lines between the employee, the doctor, the insurance adjuster, and the workplace injury lawyers. This will speed up the process and ensure the employee can afford their medical bills and other financial hurdles.
Establish a Return-to-Work Program
The longer the injured employee is away from work, the harder it may be for them to come back. After a workplace injury, it’s essential for you to establish a return-to-work program so they can return quickly and safely.
This could lower their workers’ compensation claim costs and keep them off long-term disability. It’s a win-win situation for both of you.
Prevent Future Workplace Injuries
As an employer, you should take every precaution possible to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses. Review the root cause of the accident and take preventative measures so it doesn’t happen again. Ensure that all employees are sufficiently trained depending on their jobs.
Have safety rules and regulations posted all over the facility where employees can read them. Beyond that, you should provide safety gear for all your workers and always have warning signs in areas prone to accidents.
For instance, you should have clear signs indicating a wet floor to warn people they could slip and fall.
Stay Alert and Prevent Workplace Injuries
These are the steps you need to take when faced by a workplace injury.
Rest assured that everything will work out fine. Workplace injury prevention involves having a plan in place for handling employee workplace injuries. All your employees should be trained on safety procedures, rules, and regulations.
Depending on your industry, you can even go the extra mile. Train your employees on how to perform first aid and how to contact emergency medical aid immediately after an accident.
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