INJURED AT WORK? TAKE THESE NEXT STEPS
Despite any number of regulation-appropriate workplace precautions, safety protocols such as training and simulations, and physical preventative measures such as warning signage, employees still face unfortunate accidents while at work. Your top priority when injured at work is to ensure everyone’s safety and health, in the current situation and also for the future.
There are several concrete steps you can take to immediately address an injury at work. Some of these actions will take weeks or even months. However, the first 24 hours after an injury are the most crucial.
These steps are designed to protect the physical, emotional and mental interests of the employee. The Proper action also protects the interests of the company, especially in terms of liability. In instances of workplace accidents, both the employee and the employer need to take certain steps.
Steps to Take After an Injury
Employees who are injured while working on the job have to take certain steps to ensure their physical and also legal interests. Here are the steps any employee should keep in mind:
1. Receive Medical Attention
If you become injured at work, stop whatever you are doing immediately and seek medical attention. Depending on the severity of the injury, you may need to be transported to a healthcare facility or treated on site.
2. Ensure Report of Injury
Make sure that you report the injury to your superior. This may be before you receive medical attention, for less severe cases, or after you’ve already received medical treatment. If you do not report your injury immediately, it is less likely for your cost of treatment to be covered by the company’s insurance carrier.
Taking photos of the accident area, or at least ensuring that there is an objective investigation of the scene of the accident, will also help your case if there are hazards that led to your injury. This will later be important when you file a legal claim.
3. File a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Filing a workers’ compensation claim will ensure that your medical bills will be paid, and that you will be compensated for lost wages and for the injury. Slips and falls, among other injuries, are actually the leading causes of workers’ compensations claims.
In the event of an injury, employers have a similar responsibility to safeguard the interests of their employee. Here are the steps managers and health and safety officers should take:
1. Address Need for Care
Assessing the injury and ensuring that your employee receives proper medical care is the first step to take after a workplace accident. The philosophy to take in these instances is “employees’ safety comes first”, regardless of the ongoing project. Serious medical conditions need to be treated immediately. In an emergency situation, call 911 and have your employee brought to the appropriate medical care facility.
In other instances with less severe injuries, your workplace site should be equipped to administer first aid.
Addressing the need for care will also allow you to get a more accurate picture of the severity of the injury from a medical practitioner. This will help you handle the workers’ compensation claim and the report of the accident.
2. Secure the Scene of the Accident
It is important to secure the scene of the accident and prevent other employees from disturbing the scene where the injury took place. This has two functions. First, limiting access reduces the likelihood of a repeat injury in the near future.
Secondly, securing the scene allows for better investigation of the sequence of events leading up to the accident. As much as possible, leave any equipment or materials as they were at the time of the injury.
3. Accomplish and File a Report
After the first two immediate steps of action, take the time to complete and file the paperwork involved. An incident report should be made. Claims need to be reported to your workers’ compensation insurance carrier within 24 hours, making this time period critical to the health care coverage of your employee.
This step can quickly be done if you already have the proper forms.
4.Establish a Return-to-Work Program
Lastly, it is your responsibility to ensure that your employees can become productive again as quickly and reasonably as possible. This involves a discussion of expectations as to when your employee can return, the need for a transitional program, and any other adjustments that need to be made. You need to adjust based on the injury sustained by your employee. About 20-30% of those who experience a slip and fall injury at work will suffer moderate to severe injuries, such as a hip fracture or a bruise.
To understand your responsibilities and courses of action in the event of an injury at work, consult with a trusted attorney or legal consultant. If you as an employee feel like your employer did not take the appropriate steps to report your workplace injury, contact a workers compensation lawyer as well.
When you think you have a case, do not delay. Contact the offices of James DeZao right away. He is an experienced, resourceful, and persistent lawyer. When you are with him, you are in good hands.