No matter what sort of business you run, accidents can always happen. Even in a “safe” office environment, an employee could be badly burned from a pot of coffee or slip on a wet floor. Since an accident could happen at any time, you’ll want to already have a worker’s compensation plan in place before rather than after an incident. To make sure you have all your bases covered, here are the steps you should take when an employee gets injured at the workplace.
Regardless of if you think the injury is minor or not, medical attention must be provided to the employee to assess the damage. Remember that safety always comes first and the faster you get professional help, the more likely your employee is to recover faster from their injury. Having it on record that you sought medical help immediately will also benefit you in case of a lawsuit.
Accidents usually happen so fast that no one remembers the story correctly, but as soon as the excitement dies down, talk to everyone who witnessed it. Even if a coworker wasn’t watching the injured employee specifically, they may remember some detail that will be of use later. You will need to write down their statements of what happened, from the accident to the aftermath, as well as take pictures of the scene that caused the accident to happen. File these records away in case the employee ever tries to come back and sue you over the incident.
If the injury is bad enough, your employee will likely claim workers compensation for the doctor bills. If they choose to file, as is their right, you are legally required to provide them with a form and report their claim to your insurance agent. This claim is the most important reason your business should have workers comp in place, because it will save you financially from any fees and costs that come from the injury claim.
Once your employee files for workers comp, your insurance agent will request some documentation and evidence of the accident (this is where your record-taking and pictures of the scene will come in handy). During this time, you should be open with your agency about all the details of the situation as well as check in on your employee to make sure they are recovering well.
If an accident happened once, it will likely happen again. Prevent a repeat incident by looking at what caused the first injury and making adjustments. If the building was responsible, preventative measures may include a simple repair. If the injury was a result of lack of training, a company-wide education class may be in order. You could also take this time to ask your employees about other possible dangers around the workplace. For instance, maybe they need better equipment or more safety items such as gloves or masks. By taking proper precautions, you can eliminate future workers comp claims and injuries, thereby making your workplace a happier environment for your employees.
Once your employee has recovered from their work-related injury, you are legally required to allow them to return to work at your business, regardless of whether their claim was successful or not. The injury was likely not their fault and they shouldn’t be punished for something they couldn’t control.
By having workers compensation in place, you can protect both your employees and your business. And since your employees are essential for your business to keep running smoothly, you should want to protect them as best as you can. If your business is operating without workers comp or you need help deciding which policy to choose, give your insurance agent a call today and they will discuss the best options for your industry and amount of employees.