How to handle injuries at your small business

ambulance-145368_640By Alex Williams

Work injuries happen even in the companies that meet all the standards established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Although accidents are more common in more dangerous work environments, even the office workplace has its set of occupational injuries and diseases. How you and your employees respond to workplace accidents can make a huge difference. Timely and adequate reaction that follows the established emergency procedures can help both an employee and employer mitigate health and legal consequences and continue with the regular work as soon as possible. In this article, we’ll share the injury procedures that are common in all industries; these will help you handle a work-related injury or illness in a proper way.

Care for the injured employee first

Employee safety always comes first. The injured employee should receive an adequate medical treatment as soon as possible. Coworkers and managers should immediately call an ambulance and inform them about the incident and employee’s state. Sometimes coworkers and managers will also need to provide basic first aid. There should be at least one team member who passed first aid training and knows how to provide basic care to injured coworkers.

In emergency situations, the ambulance will come to the scene as soon as possible, while in non-emergency situations coworkers can drive the injured employee to the nearest health care center. Depending on the employee’s state and how serious the injury is, they can drive them to the clinic designated by the insurance provider or to the closest health care center.

Secure the scene of the accident

The scene where the accident happened needs to be closed off immediately after the injured employee has been rushed to the hospital. By closing off the scene, you reduce the risk of more injuries and enable the investigators to determine the accident causes. When closing the scene, secure all the equipment and materials that were involved in the accident since they might need to be checked by the Worker’s Compensation Board or the OSHA officials.

Complete the paperwork

You should contact the local Workers’ Compensation Board and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration as soon as possible. In most cases, the contact should be established on the same day of the injury. The compensation process requires thorough paperwork, and sometimes the Board will send their personnel to investigate the case. OSHA requires employers to fill in the OSHA Form 300 and maintain the records of all work-related injuries and illnesses. You should also take the statement from the injured employees and from all coworkers who witnessed the accident. Sometimes, written statements are not sufficient, and employees need to be questioned by the WC Board or the OSHA investigators.

Unfortunately, not all employers pay the Workers’ Compensation insurance. Employees might have problems with receiving a proper compensation for their injuries. That’s why they should always hire a personal injury attorney, who will make the compensation process easier and less stressful, and file a lawsuit against the employer if necessary. Most attorney companies that deal with personal injuries have huge experience in work-related injury cases.

Establish a good return-to-work program

Both minor and major injuries require a progressive return-to-work program. Longer sick leaves require longer adjustment periods. During these periods you need to modify the injured employee’s duties and provide them with more flexible tasks. Even if employees are medically fit for work, they will need some time to regain their productivity and adjust to the regular work process. The modified job program doesn’t need to take place in the same department. You can change the employee’s role and assign them a completely different job position. Still, it’s advisable to keep recently recovered employees on the same salary and to provide them with more flexible work hours. Flexible return-to-work programs help you retain experienced professionals and establish a strong relationship with you team.

Both employers and employees can prevent injuries from happening and mitigate their consequences. Your duty as an employer is to provide safe workplace conditions and to ensure that all occupational safety and health procedures are being followed. Employees can report all workplace safety hazards to their employers, and if they ignore their reports, they can contact the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and require an immediate inspection of their workplace. Prevention is the best cure when it comes to workplace safety, and employees need to care for their own safety and the safety of their coworkers, even when working in a fairly safe work environment.

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Alex Williams is a journalism graduate, and a rookie blogger. Blogs are the perfect opportunity for presenting yourself to wider audience, getting the chance to showcase expertise and receiving recognition. I am a regular contributor at Bizzmakr Blog. You can find Alex at on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

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