Running a company comes with a number of important responsibilities. As such, there are so many duties that it can be hard to prioritize them when there are conflicts. And while it’s challenging enough to put one piece over another without understanding the exact circumstances, there’s one duty that should never be put on delay: employee health and safety. Injuries happen, but it’s how you respond that will dictate the final result.
What you should keep in mind is that every business that employs staff (regardless of its niche) is responsible for their safety and health whilst they are working. Whether this is out on-site or in the workplace, your staff should take the necessary steps to ensure that they’re working in a safe environment. Safety and health laws are there to be followed to avoid injuries or accidents.
What are some Common Workplace Injuries?
As you’ve probably heard, injury risk may vary from company to company. For instance, office workers at an accounting business will face a different set of risks than assembly line operators in an auto manufacturing plant. Regardless of the nature of the business, you run and the capacity on which your workers operate, they may encounter all or any of the following at-work injuries.
- Injuries Due to Overexertion
That’s the second leading cause of on-the-job accidents and injuries. Recurrent causes of overexertion injuries include pushing, lifting, carrying, or holding objects as part of one’s duty. Oftentimes, these injuries can lead to debilitating pain, physical therapy, medical bills, and missed work time. According to one study, injuries due to overexertion cost businesses $15.1 billion in direct costs each year.
- Vehicle accidents.
- Slip, trip, fall injuries.
- Machine entanglement.
- Repetitive motion injuries.
Obviously, there are more types of workplace injuries, but these are positively the most prominent in the modern workplace. We’ll discuss some concrete steps you can take for avoiding and preventing these injuries later in this article, but for now, it’s important to recognize them now before digging into specific actions you need in the wake of workplace injuries.
What Can I Do When an Employee is Injured on the Job?
Put it this way. A worker is hit in the parking lot by a company vehicle. A maintenance employee slips in the toilet and knocks her head against a countertop. A warehouse staff injured his knee while lifting a box. These are only a few examples of what some would deem to be absolutely dire accidents.
As a front-runner, you can try your best to protect your business, but not all accidents can be avoided. Having said that, it’s how you respond after an injury occurs that will ultimately determine the outcome of the situation. Consider the following steps:
Seek Medical Attention
The most important thing you can do is to seek immediate medical attention. While it’s normal for your mind to instantly jump to the financial repercussions of an at-work injury, you cannot worry about those issues now. You don’t want to fail to provide your employee with immediate medical attention, nor to face legal issues in the future.
As soon as an accident occurs, call 911 if the injuries seem to be serious. And, even if it doesn’t necessitate emergency attention, you should highly encourage your staff to get medical care as soon as possible.
File a Report
When an employee has received proper medical attention and care, it’s time to reassess your protocol and obligation as an employer.
According to How-to-Sue.co.uk, injured workers have the right to file a personal injury claim, and it’s your responsibility to offer them claim forms, should they ask for one. If your employees do choose to proceed with a claim, you will need to report the injury to your employees, compensation insurance agency.
Normally, you will be asked to file what’s known as the First Report of Injury or Illness. For instance, in addition to filling in the required documentation, you will also want to record that will benefit your future lawsuit. Discuss with your worker who witnessed the accident or injury, try to note down your own thoughts, take pictures, and record statements.
Cooperate with Employee’ Compensation
Don’t ignore your employee’s compensation carrier and their lawyers if a claim is attempted. They will likely ask for all kinds of files and documentation on the employee, so go ahead and deliver this information. Also, you should not provide records or documentation to anyone else. When a lawyer claims to represent the injured worker contacts you, promptly contact the employee’s compensation carrier for additional clarification.
Welcome Your Employee Back
After the accident or injury –regardless of whether it leads to a successful claim or not- it’s in your duty to welcome the staff member back as soon as they’re mentally and physically able to resume employment. You cannot penalize or terminate the worker for filing a claim – otherwise, you will have to face further legal repercussions.
Support Your Staff
Your employee’s primary role is to focus on recovery and aims to stay at work in some capacity or return to work as soon as possible.
Helping your staff member to recover at work may reduce the financial bearing on your company by helping the employee return to full duties much faster, improve workplace morale and retain their valued skills by demonstrating to the rest of your team that they are valued.
Supporting your employee through the injury and recovery process will have a considerable impact. A true leader should also seek to:
- Keep in touch with the employee and ask coworkers to keep
- Discourage blame
- Address and resolve any outstanding conflicts or issues
- Engage with Their Doctor
Meeting with your employee and their doctor can help you manage your employee’s injury and allow you to exhibit your commitment to their recovery, and discuss normal responsibilities and the availability of other duties.
Once your employee signs a certificate of capacity – you are entitled to ask questions which may include:
- Can the employee use public transportation or work?
- What can the worker do?
- What can the employee do?
- What can I do to help the employee recover from the work?