Five Steps to Take After an On-the-Job Injury

Prompt action and clear communication lessen the impact of work injuries for employers and employees.

On-the-job injuries occur even with stringent safety precautions. Here are five steps to make the best of an unfortunate situation.

Get Medical Care Without Delay
If the injury is life-threatening, get the person to the emergency room. Do not allow the injured person, co-worker, or supervisor to drive. Call an ambulance in case medical care is needed on the way to the hospital. For lesser injuries, the employee should still see a doctor as soon as possible. Prompt medical care could mean the difference between an employee missing a few hours of work or being off the job for weeks.

Sometimes a company prefers that an injured employee see a specific doctor, but an employee is not bound to see an employer-chosen doctor for emergency care. To receive workers' compensation benefits, though, the employee generally must see the employer-chosen doctor for non-emergency care.

File an Accident Report as Soon as Possible
Notify your employer as soon as possible in writing. Even if the injuries were not serious, the accident and/or injuries must be noted. Most states require that employers carry workers' compensation insurance. The employer must be notified of the accident before filing a workers' compensation claim.

Workers' compensation insurance guidelines vary by state. In general, most workers' compensation claims:

  • Must be filed by the employer on behalf of the injured employee
  • May be accompanied by more safety training, drug testing, or other employer requirements
  • Will compensate the injured person regardless of negligence or liability from the employee or the employer

Inform All Necessary Parties About the Accident
Workplace safety relies on prompt and open communication between employees and the company. It is possible that new safety regulations could prevent a similar incident in the future. Most companies have an internal communications process. It might be a monthly newsletter, email, or even a bulletin board in the breakroom. Shining a light on a workplace injury could prevent similar incidents in the future.

Review Safety Procedures
In addition to conforming to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines, it is a smart idea to review safety procedures after an on-the-job injury. While it is unfortunate that an employee was hurt, this is also an ideal opportunity to emphasize safety and first aid procedures. See whether new or updated safety features are available.

Remain Professional and Courteous
Workplace accidents not only jeopardize an employee's health and safety, they often affect productivity, schedules, and budgets. Sometimes a job-related injury causes tension between employees and the employer. It might be advisable for the company Human Resources director or office manager to gently remind everyone that assigning blame or spreading gossip is not helpful for anyone.

Hopefully, the injured employee will enjoy a speedy recovery and be able to return to work quickly. Following these five steps after a work-related injury can help everyone focus on a safer future.

George Sink is an attorney and the founder of George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers.

Posted on Dec 03, 2018