When an employee of yours is injured at work, the last thing you want to worry about is the legal ramifications of your actions or lack thereof. However, you can take specific steps to mitigate liability and ensure that everyone involved gets the support they need to get through the situation as quickly and safely as possible.
Injuries at work are never pleasant or convenient, whether it’s your employee who’s injured or you trying to deal with the situation from afar. If your employee is hurt on the job, don’t panic. There are plenty of things you can do to take care of them and make sure that their injury doesn’t impact their career or your business negatively.
The workplace isn’t always a safe place. Accidents do happen, and they often occur at the worst possible time. When you have employees on-site and need them to continue working, as usual, it’s essential to have your employees complete safety training. However, it’s also crucial to know what steps to take if one of your employees becomes injured at work. Follow these seven steps to take if your employee is injured at work.
- Act Immediately
You may be in shock, but it’s essential not to waste any time when an employee is injured. Call 911 if you need medical assistance. If not, call a doctor or clinic and have them come out. Next, contact your HR department for further assistance with taking care of your employees’ needs. Some people will tell you to wait until they feel better before deciding what to do next, but that’s unwise. The sooner you begin documenting things about your injury and gathering information about who was present at the time of injury, the better off your employee will be if there are issues down the road.
- Communicate with Everyone Involved
When one of your employees is injured on the job, it’s essential to communicate with everyone involved—the employee, their family, your company’s insurance company, and legal counsel. Ensure you’re covering all of your bases—document any doctor visits and written communication about who did what and when. You don’t want anyone misremembering important details later down the line.
- Gather the Right People
First, you need to gather together everyone who might be able to help out with your employee’s injury. You need a doctor, of course, but you should also call in a counselor or other healthcare provider and arrange for an emergency ride home if that’s what your employee needs. If you don’t have access to these resources, find them on a first-come, first-served basis—the time between an injury and when medical help arrives could be critical.
- Assess the Situation
If an employee has been injured, it’s important not to create more stress by adding more stressors. Stay calm and handle things as quickly as possible without making rash decisions. Is your employee able to leave work and go home? If so, encourage them to do so, but make sure they understand that you want them back in once they’ve rested for a few hours. Are there any other employees present who need assistance? Make sure everyone understands what steps you need to take next.
- Keep Them Safe
Following a workplace injury, be sure that first aid and assistance are given as needed. Ensuring employee safety should be your number one priority following an injury; in fact, failing to do so can lead to legal issues later on down the road. It’s essential for all parties involved to follow OSHA regulations when dealing with on-site injuries or in conjunction with working hours. For example, it’s against OSHA policy to deny emergency treatment after an accident. Make sure you have documented everything about any injuries sustained by your employees.
- Send Them to a Hospital
Hospitals usually have doctors and nurses who trained in evaluating workplace injuries. If your employee sustains a minor injury, they can be sent home from work for a few days with instructions on how to take care of it while it heals. For more severe injuries, they may be told to go directly to an emergency room or urgent care facility. Be sure you understand what kind of medical attention your employee needs, as well as how long they will need off work.
- Hire a Lawyer If Needed
Even seemingly minor injuries can lead to severe complications over time. Suppose you’re a manager and one of your employees was injured at work. It’s in your best interest (and theirs) to ensure they get medical attention quickly. You should also make sure they receive workers’ compensation benefits while they recover. In some cases, your employee might need a personal injury lawyer. Find an attorney who specializes in workplace injuries. They can help decide whether you or your company are legally liable for their employee’s injuries—and what legal action to take next. They can also take care of necessary paperwork and filing with your state.
When an employee is injured on the job, your first reaction should be to get them medical attention. If you are not trained in emergency response procedures, call 911. Make sure other employees remain calm and follow any instructions in case of workplace injuries.