There are always questions in an employer’s head when an employee gets a workplace injury. Do we need to send the employee to the hospital? Did the employee actually get hurt on the job? Do I need to record this on my OSHA log? While all of these are fair questions, there is no perfect answer to them. There are many influences based on each specific circumstance. So if an employee suffers a workplace injury, what should you do?
What to Do When a Workplace Injury Occurs
1. Help Get Medical Care
Despite your best efforts, a workplace injury can still happen. When it does, the first thing you want to do is to assess the injury and get your employee medical attention.
Should the accident occur when you are not around, it is the responsibility of an employee to notify their employer, HR department, etc. of an injury on the job. Once your injured employee receives the necessary care required, it’s a good idea to follow up with them.
2. Investigate the Accident
Whether an employee notifies you of a workplace injury or you’re onsite when it happens, it is your responsibility to review the situation. In some circumstances, that may mean getting written accounts from the injured employee, any witnesses or going over any security footage that might be available.
Firsthand information from all witnesses is invaluable to figuring out what happened. The more accounts you can get, the clearer the picture you will be able to form of the incident. Consider taking photos at the scene of the injury as well. You may find wet floors or misplaced equipment that contributed to the accident.
Perhaps most importantly, you should investigate the accident even if there is no resulting injury. You can use the information to see if your safety processes are sufficient and improve them where they fall short.
3. File the Claim
Your insurance company will guide you through every step of the process to correctly file and document the claim. Knowing your state specific work injury reporting rules can be helpful. Whatever you do, don’t try to avoid filing a claim by offering to pay your injured worker’s medical bill directly. It is difficult to know when an injury can turn out to be something more serious than you’d expect. So the best way to protect your business and your employees is by filing a claim – even if the injury appears to be minor.
4. Record the Incident
One of the most important steps for employers to do after an employee suffers a workplace injury is to record the incident to OSHA. Many companies feel the best way to avoid hefty fines is to record all injuries, similarly to how a company should report their Workers Compensation claims. However, the requirements for OSHA are much different than insurance companies. For some larger companies who have several claims a day, recording every minor incident to OSHA can be quite a hassle.
A general guideline for OSHA records is that an employer MUST record any injury that requires treatment beyond first aid. However, the term first aid might mean something different to you than it does to someone else. The simple solution is to contact OSHA or your Workers Compensation clinic for a “Guide to OSHA Recordability” sheet that lays out the guidelines of First Aid vs Medical Treatment. In addition to determining if an injury is beyond “First-Aid” or not, recording severe injuries in a timely manner is one of the MOST important parts that employers must be conscious of. An employee hospitalization, amputation, or eye loss on the job must be reported within 24 hours to OSHA. And, any work-related fatality must be reported within 8 hours.
While no employer wants their employees to suffer a workplace injury, accidents do happen. This is why it is important to know how to handle any situation that might occur beforehand. It is your responsibility to ensure employees adhere to your safety procedures to guarantee your team and business are safe. For more ways to protect your business, just call us at 1-800-878-3808 today! We have worked exclusively with mobile cleaning contractors for 40 years and have the experience to get you the right coverage at the best price.