A workplace injury can affect your employees without warning. When that happens, prompt treatment is necessary to mitigate the scenario in the best way possible. Claims can stretch and last up to months or even a year. When that happens, your business can be affected in two ways – financially, as well as productivity-wise.
Workers comp and injury claims
There are various steps you can take before a workplace injury occurs to prevent the likelihood of stretched-out claims processes. As a business owner who hires employees, you are required in multiple states of the US to have a Workers Compensation Insurance policy in place. This insurance policy protects your employees by providing for medical claims.
An employee is legally entitled to file a claim should they get injured at work. Such injury can stem from accidents, slips and falls, fainting episodes, or other scenarios. Workers Comp and filing for medical claims only apply to employees who are injured while working.
It does not apply to employees who get injured off-duty or as a result of being intoxicated at work. It also does not apply to employees who get hurt while intentionally flouting established workplace safety protocols.
As a business owner, there are various steps you can take to ensure that your working environment is safe for your employees. In case an employee gets injured, you will need to notify your insurance carrier. For dire scenarios involving death or disabilities, OSHA will also need to be notified.
Here are the steps you should take regarding who to notify in case of a workplace injury:
Create safety protocols ahead of time
To mitigate the possibility of serious workplace injuries occurring, you’ll need to create safety protocols and policies. These policies should inform employees and management regarding what they should do if an employee gets injured at work.
In emergency scenarios, prompt action can prevent the likelihood of extended injury recovery. To establish emergency response in your employees, they should be informed on what to do in case of incidents and injuries.
Including a 24-hour response plan in your safety protocols will let employees know what immediate action they should take, who to notify and what paperwork they need to do. Since immediate response within the first 24-hours can benefit your employee and your business, this step can be crucial. Ensuring that you run regular safety training programs and have trained your employees on the basics of first aid and safety management will ensure immediate aid is available to any injured employee.
Examination and assessment
If an employee is injured, their injury should be immediately examined. Not every workplace injury results in need for hospitalization or professional medical care. Even in these situations, first aid should be promptly administered. Employees trained with safety and first aid training through your safety management programs can assist with this step.
In case the injury is grievous, professional medical services should be informed immediately. Meanwhile, the injured employee should be given first aid and assured that they’d be okay and cared for. If an employee is being taken to a hospital, provide them with forms they can take to the doctor regarding their workplace injury. The doctor can use the form to create a return to work assessment, as well as notify your business regarding any work restrictions due to injury the employee may encounter.
Documentation and evidence
Documentation is key to ensuring that the workers comp claim proceeds smoothly and without delay. Beginning the documentation process as soon as possible allows you to list data that you may otherwise forget. Even if the injury is small and professional medical aid is not required, you should still file documentation.
Alongside preparing your documents, report both minor and major injuries as soon as they happen to your Workers Compensation Insurance policy carrier. That way, in case a workers comp claim is filed, your insurance carrier can proceed with their work immediately.
Notifying relevant authorities
For most types of workplace injuries, simply notifying your insurance carrier is enough. However, there are certain circumstances where you need to notify OSHA as well. These include
- If an employee passes away within thirty days of the workplace injury, OSHA should receive an incident report within eight hours of their death.
- In case bodily injuries include amputations, loss of an eye or vision, or the need for inpatient care at the hospital, report to OSHA. The hospitalization should happen within 24 hours of the incident, and OSHA will need to be notified within 24 hours since then.
For all other workplace-related injuries, reporting to your insurance carrier is enough.
Visit the coctor
In situations where your employee is hospitalized or under the care of a medical professional, talking to their doctor is a good idea. That shows that you care about the employee and their well-being, and you can get first-hand information on the nature of their condition.
Accidents that result in sprains, damage to the neck and back, and other such injuries take the longest time to heal. These also incur higher claims costs from Workers Cover. Talk to the doctor regarding how your employee is doing, and find out when they can return to work.
You should also consider visiting your employee to ask how they are feeling as well. This creates a connection between your employee and makes them feel that you care about them.
Workplace injuries can happen at any time and are not necessarily anyone’s fault. However, injured employees are still entitled to workers cover to protect their health and finances. Providing safety training and immediate emergency response already sets you up for an easier claims process.
By keeping in touch with your insurance carrier, the doctor, and your injured employee, you can stay up to date on their recovery and return to work process. If you want to learn about other business insurance policies that can protect your business and employees, then click here.