Imagine an employee reporting the following work-related injury to you…
“I slipped on the tile floor. I fell on my back and am experiencing some pain and numbness.”
The scenario above was inspired by an educational module from an Employment Law Instructor’s Manual. While conversations like this are not the kind of conversation you ever want to have with an employee, accidents happen from time to time. If you don’t respond to an employee’s work-related injury properly, you could find yourself facing a worker’s compensation law suit.
As we’ve emphasized before, successful businesses are always prepared for the worst, and that’s why it is important to have a plan of action in place when an employee reports an injury. The first step for any injury, minor or life threatening, as noted by the Small Business Chronicle is to provide immediate care and determine if emergency medical personnel should be contacted.
The next step you should take in response to an employee’s work-related injury is to report the injury to the injured employee’s immediate supervisor (if that is not you) and the human resources department. Make sure your employees are aware of the time frame in which accidents and injuries should be reported. If the injury doesn’t require immediate attention, provide the employee with the names of hospitals or doctors affiliated with your worker’s compensation program if they feel the need to seek medical care. The Department of Human Resource Management recommends providing at least three physicians for the employee to choose from.
Next, make sure the injury is documented and assist the employee with the injury report as is necessary. Filling out these forms are a must because they are the legal documentation of the details of the accident, such as the date and time the injury took place, cause of the accident, injuries sustained, and the names of any witnesses.
Finally, if the employee’s injuries require that they miss work, make sure there is an official coordination of the employee’s absence and their return to work. Obtain the doctor’s report from the employee to verify their absence and conduct a thorough investigation of the incident. This investigation will not only determine the cause of the accident, but also help “implement actions to prevent a reoccurrence.”
What steps do you take in dealing with work-related injuries? Leave a comment to share with us.