Without a plan in place, workplace accidents can catch you off-guard and put you in a delicate position. Even if you’ve taken the right precautionary steps, nothing is one-hundred percent foolproof. While you might think you have taken every possible step to safeguard your employees, some accidents are just a risk that comes along with the job – from construction accidents on the job site to dog bites for delivery services – no matter how careful you and your workers are.
Depending on your industry, workplace injuries may be more commonplace than others, but no matter how frequent or in-frequent they might be, you need to take them seriously – you owe it to your employees and your customers. To help protect your business, you need to know how to respond to a workplace injury with the right measures in place, starting with these four important steps:
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Attend to the Injured Individual
First things first, you need to get on the scene and attend to the injured worker. Make sure you call in any necessary medical professionals and then contain the area, so it does not become any more chaotic than it already is. Close off the area so anyone who does not need to be there does not interfere and is not exposed to any potential harm.
If they’re severely injured, you may need to call 911. However, if their injuries do not appear to need emergency care, they may be able to head straight to the doctors on their own. Either way, you need to make sure their medical well-being is the first priority.
Once they are attended to, you should clear away any debris that may be a risk to others – for example, if they slipped on water or another substance it should be cleaned up and marked with a warning sign until it’s dry. If professionals are required to come to deal with a harmful substance such as a toxic chemical spill, make sure you get someone into the workplace as soon as possible to protect other employees.
File Necessary Documentation
Once their medical needs are attended to, you will need to get the incident documented, starting with having the employee file a workers’ compensation insurance claim (if you don’t have one of these insurance policies, it’s essential that you get one as soon as possible). You will need to cooperate with the insurance company, providing any necessary information for the claim.
While you might be dreading this process, many insurance companies now use third party demand package solutions that streamline the process and increases the accuracy of claim filing. This can significantly benefit you because it ensures that the claim is processed as quickly as possible and liability is assigned appropriately.
In addition to having the injured employee complete paperwork on their end, you will also need to complete some documentation, known as the First Report of Injury or Illness. We highly recommend keeping digital copies of everything just in case it’s needed in the future.
Do Not Pressure Them
While it’s natural to want your workforce back to full-operating order, you need to understand that this worker needs time to recover. While you can encourage them to come back to work when they’re ready, it’s important to avoid pressuring them to come back to work too soon. This can not only result in them having to take more time off because of a subsequent injury, but it can open you up to a lot more liability.
Take Steps to Prevent Future Injuries
If there have been any oversights on your end that led to the employee’s injury, it is your responsibility to ensure that steps are taken to prevent it from happening to someone else. Make sure that any repairs, protocols, or preventive measures are put into place as soon as possible.
If you are not sure where to start here are a few ways you can help prevent future injuries in your workplace:
- Provide safety training to all employees (you may also want to have them take an exam and sign a certificate of completion for your records)
- Implement new precautionary measures (this may be better protective equipment or new processes that reduce the risk of injury when performing certain tasks)
- Screening new hires to make sure they have the required training and experience (keep in mind that before performing a background check on anyone, you must get their permission)
As the employer, it is your responsibility to facilitate this process to ensure that the right steps are taken. Doing everything by-the-book is in your interest, especially when legal action is taken. Fortunately, with this guide to the basics, you will be prepared to take the correct steps when there’s a workplace injury at your business.
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