Injuries in the workplace can be a disaster—physically for employees and financially for employers. The harrowing reality is that they can happen to the best of us an any given workplace. However, for those working in positions or environments that require physical labor, heavy lifting, or dangerous circumstances, knowing exactly what to do in the event of a workplace accident should be top priority.
Having a standard step-by-step protocol in line will make the process less of a headache for both parties and could save you money in the long haul. Using this guide, we’ll walk you through the five steps you should take immediately after a workplace injury has occurred. Whether your company is geared up with workers’ comp claims management software or not, a solidified plan will make a world of difference.
Step 1: Develop a plan
The last thing you want to deal with when faced with a workplace injury is indecision. Wondering what to do can add stress and waste valuable time when immediate action is needed. Acting with swiftness and efficiency will minimize the amount of harm that burdens the injured worker. For that reason, your post-injury plan must do the following:
- Collect information
- Complete paperwork
As you work through these four plan essentials, you’ll want to reassure the injured employee that you are taking care of the situation and that their family members will be in contact if the injury proves life-threatening or severe. Employees want to know that their employers care, and the first step is to treat them with exactly that. Unless the employee has clearly expressed a willingness and ability to drive themselves to the hospital or finish out the day, do not hold them accountable for further action on the day of the injury.
Step 2: Assess the Injury
Regardless of the situation or circumstances, be sure to assess and treat all injuries with total seriousness. Keep in mind that even small injuries may lead to larger injuries down the road, so be vigilant about each and every workplace incident. It’s also important to understand that in most cases, no one on the clock will be certified to make a professional assessment, so it’s always a smart idea to call in or seek a qualified medical professional.
If the employee seems to be in severe pain or life-threatening condition, call 9-1-1 immediately. If the injured employee does not appear to be in any sort of dire situation, you may consider driving the employee to a local medical facility.
Step 3: Secure the Area
Once you’ve taken the proper steps toward assessing the situation, the next important step is securing the space where the injury happened. Even if it happened in a high-traffic spot, it’s incredibly important for you to block it off. There are two reasons why:
- The area could still be a dangerous environmental hazard for other workers still on the clock.
- As you fill out a workplace incident report, you’ll need to be able to perfectly describe the scene of the incident in as precise of detail as you can provide. By securing the area, it will remain untampered.
Step 4: Collect Information
There’s a chance that the only individual present at the scene of the accident was the injured employee, but the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to do everything in their power to collect as much information about the incident as possible. This helps to build an accurate account that benefits both the employee and you, the employer.
There are a number of methods you can employ to begin collecting information including:
- Interviewing other employees
- Reviewing security camera footage
- Interviewing the injured employee after they’ve made a reasonable recovery
Step 5: Carefully Complete Paperwork
The reality of workplace incidents is that they usually take a sizable amount of time before they’re completely dealt with and smoothed over. Unfortunately, in most cases, the employee and employer end up pitted against each other. To best protect yourself and your company’s finances, keep and complete paperwork to the best of your ability. It’s imperative that action is taken quickly so the situation is best assessed by fresh memories rather than months-old recollections.
With these five steps, you can rest assured knowing you have a foolproof plan to deal with workplace injuries to keep you and your employees out of a nasty financial hole.