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A workplace injury doesn’t only affect the injured employee. It can also affect you & your business. Here’s how you should address workplace injuries.
Every year, there are more than 4.5 million workplace injuries that take place all across the country. That works out to approximately one workplace injury every 7 seconds.
When a workplace injury occurs, it affects more than just the injured employee. The person’s employer is also required to spring into action. They must follow a series of steps to protect both themselves and their injured employee.
If you own a business or help run one, you should be well aware of what you’ll need to do in the event that one of your employees sustains a workplace injury. It’ll get your employee the help they need and could prevent your business from getting hit with costly fines and legal fees later.
Here is how you should address workplace injuries.
Seek Medical Attention for Your Employee Immediately
The first thing you should do following a workplace injury is encourage your injured employee to seek medical attention right away.
In some cases, that might mean calling 911 yourself and asking for an ambulance. In others, it might mean giving your employee a few hours off so that they can go to the emergency room to get checked out. It all depends on the severity of their injury.
But no matter what you do, you shouldn’t try to persuade your employee to “tough it out” and continue working. Even if they only sustained a minor injury, that injury could get worse over time or it could cause new symptoms that haven’t shown up yet.
Launch an Investigation to Find Out How the Injury Occurred
Once your employee has left the building and is off getting the medical care they need, your next step should be to launch a thorough investigation into how they were injured.
Start by speaking with other employees who were in the general vicinity when the injury happened to find out what they can tell you about it. Review surveillance video, if possible, to see what took place before, during, and after the incident that caused your employee to sustain an injury.
Your goal should be to get to the bottom of what happened and see exactly how your employee’s injury occurred. You should do this sooner than later since the incident will still be fresh in your employees’ minds right after it took place.
Contact OSHA to Inform Them of the Injury
After you’ve gained some valuable insight into how your employee was injured, you’ll most likely need to reach out to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, better known as OSHA, to inform them of the injury.
OSHA doesn’t always require businesses to report minor injuries. But it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to reporting injuries to OSHA.
If you fail to report an injury and OSHA finds out about it, you could be subjected to a fine of $750 or more. You could also be subjected to a full OSHA investigation if your employee contacts OSHA later and complains about your workplace conditions leading to them sustaining an injury.
Evaluate Your Existing Health and Safety Practices
Are you doing enough to keep your employees safe when they’re on the job?
Most companies have a long list of health and safety practices that they teach their employees when they first start working. Those health and safety practices are in place to prevent accidents and injuries from occurring.
In the aftermath of workplace injuries, you should sit down and look at your company’s specific health and safety practices to see if they’re adequate enough. See if there are any other practices that you need to add moving forward to prevent injuries from taking place in your facility.
See If Your Employee Will Need to Take Time Off
Following an injury, an employee may request time off from work. And legally speaking, they may be entitled to it. They may also be entitled to collect workers’ compensation.
Workers’ compensation allows people to continue to get paid when they’re forced to take off from work due to an injury or illness. It’s in place to prevent people from losing their source of income simply because they were hurt on the job.
Once your employee has received the proper medical attention, you should stay in touch with them and see if they’re going to need to take time off. If their doctor has told them that they won’t be able to work for a while, connect them with your HR department so that they can discuss taking time off and collecting workers’ compensation.
Prepare Your Company for the Possibility of a Legal Case
Most of the people who are injured at work every year don’t take legal action against their employers.
But if your employee feels as though they were injured because your company doesn’t have the proper health and safety practices in place, they may decide to file a personal injury case against you.
You should discover more about what a personal injury case is and how it could affect you. You should also prepare your company for the possibility of a personal injury case. Speak with your legal team about what options you’ll have if you’re hit with a lawsuit.
Even if your employee ultimately decides not to take legal action against you, it never hurts to know whether or not your company could be on the hook for a large settlement at some point.
Don’t Get Caught Off Guard by Workplace Injuries
Regardless of how hard you try to stop them, workplace injuries are going to happen every now and then.
You can limit them by putting the right health and safety practices into place. You can also respond to them in the right way by using the tips listed here.
It’ll protect your company from OSHA investigations. It’ll also ensure that your employees are able to recover quickly following an injury.
Check out our blog for more tips on creating effective workplace policies that will benefit both your company and your employees.