Your employee was injured at work. What next?
When your employee is injured on the job, it is important to move quickly in providing medical attention and opening a workers compensation claim. Doing so will help minimize the total cost and the severity of the injury.
Following these three steps will help employers plan ahead and be prepared in the event of an injury.
Step 1 – Preparedness is key
Business owners can prepare by finding ways to prevent workplace injuries. In the event one occurs, finding ways to respond quickly is critical. These preventative and response methods include:
- Implement and follow OSHA’s recommendation
- Make first aid equipment readily available
- Regularly train employees safety procedures
- Keep an emergency contact list for employees
- Create response plans for a variety of scenarios
- Outline the Workers Compensation process
- Document a return-to-work program
Planning to prevent injuries is the best way for business owners to reduce risk. However, prevention is not always possible, so preparing for the worst is essential.
Step 2 – Respond quickly after injury
- Evaluate the scenario – Move the injured to a safe place and evaluate the injury. Take note of the severity of injury and what caused the accident.
- Help the injured – If the injury is minor – such as scrapes, cuts and burns – treatment using first aid supplies may be all that is required. If the injury necessitates more serious treatment, seek professional help or emergency medical services.
- Complete an incident report – Collect and keep information and any evidence relating to the incident as quickly as possible. Write down the details of the incident and secure witness statements. Gather evidence of the incident by collecting surveillance video, photos, equipment, etc. Incident reports should be made even if employees say they are fine. They may seek medical attention later in time.
Being prepared to respond to an accident will help lessen panic, thereby allowing business owners to remain calm and collected.
Step 3 – Stay committed to communicating and following through
Business owners should work along with their employee on opening a workers compensation claim with the insurance company.
Keep in mind that it is favorable to the business owner if he or she maintains communication with all parties related to the incident. This includes the claims adjuster, insurance agent and injured employee.
In the event the injured employee sues, it is important to maintain open communication. More specifically, business owners should provide attorneys and adjusters with information and documentation relating to the claim. Settling a claim early in the process can prevent an expensive, drawn out lawsuit.
Taking steps to prevent workplace injuries from occurring in the first place will help avoid expensive claims and potential litigation. However, if an injury does occur, being prepared and responding quickly can help minimize the severity of the injury and protect the employer.
If you have any questions, please contact us here.