Even when business owners take appropriate workplace safety precautions and measures to avoid injuries, accidents happen. How employers respond to these accidents can make all the difference. When an injury occurs, managers should follow the protocols below to properly handle a work-related injury or illness:
1. Care for your employee first
Your employees’ safety comes first and getting an injured employee treatment quickly is crucial. In an emergency situation, call 911. In non-emergency situations, transport the injured employee to a medical care facility. You can consult the medical provider designated by your workers’ compensation carrier or the walk-in clinic closest to the scene of the accident.
2. Secure the scene
The site of any serious accident needs to be secured as quickly as possible for investigative purposes. Limit access to the scene of the incident to avoid secondary accidents, then secure and save any equipment or materials that were involved in the incident.
3. Complete the necessary paperwork
Once you’ve ensured your employees’ safety and secured the scene of the accident, you must complete the proper paperwork. An incident report should be completed and any claims need to be reported to your workers’ compensation insurance carrier within 24 hours of the incident. Under the OSHA recordkeeping regulation, employers are required to prepare and maintain records of work-related injuries and illnesses using the OSHA form 300. Some workers’ compensations carriers offer programs to help guide their clients in these situations. Check with your carrier or insurance agent for available resources.
4. Establish a return-to-work program
Many injuries, including minor sprains and strains, can result in weeks or months off the job. The longer those workers are away from work due to an injury, the more difficult it can be for them to return to employment. To help injured or ill employees become productive again as quickly and safely as possible, managers should implement a return-to-work or transitional modified job program. These programs help keep workers off of long-term disability and can potentially lower employers’ costs.
Transitional or modified jobs can be used as part of return-to-work programs. These flexible arrangements are designed to accommodate employees who are medically cleared to work but are unable to perform their previous job duties. Transitional modified jobs do not need to be in the same role or department, for the same amount of hours, or at the prior compensation level. These programs allow employers to maintain the resources of an experienced worker on site, while preserving the employee’s confidence, skill level and connection with the company.
5. Make a commitment to safety
Employers are able to influence many factors that contribute to injured workers satisfaction levels, confidence, return-to-work outcomes and claim costs.
By making safety a priority, establishing a relationship with a medical provider, and planning ahead for transitional modified jobs, employers will be positioned to effectively and efficiently handle a work-related injury should one occur.