We often offer tips on how to prevent injuries in the Workplace Safety section of our blog. But sometimes, despite your best efforts, injuries do occur. In these situations, it’s important to know how to handle the immediate aftermath of the incident. Here are eight steps to incorporate into your standard operating procedures.
How Should You Address a Workplace Injury?
Have a Plan for Obtaining Medical Care
In the moments following an injury, you need to quickly notify first responders and determine how to transport the injured worker to a medical facility. Be sure you have a contingency plan in place. Depending on the size of your plant or warehouse, you may want to invite your responding fire department and EMT provider to tour your business so they can administer aid as quickly as possible.
Initiate an Investigation
Once medical attention has been administered to your employee, start the work of investigating the incident to specifically identify the cause of the injury or illness. This is necessary for two reasons: (1) to determine if the employee is eligible for workplace compensation benefits; and (2) to identify the risk factors that contributed to the incident and address them.
Report the Incident
You are required to notify the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of serious workplace injuries. The mandated timeframe depends on the severity of the incident: You must report fatal incidents within eight hours, while you have 24 hours to report amputations and inpatient hospitalizations. Be prepared to work with OSHA or other regulatory agencies, as required.
Carefully Examine Your Policies
Make sure that your disability and return-to-work policies are up-to-date and that they strike a balance between complying with the law and protecting your company against any employees who may try to game the system by acting in bad faith.
Keep the Rest of Your Employees Informed
When one of their colleagues is injured on the job, it’s reasonable for them to express concerns both for the injured employee’s well being and for their own safety. Address any issues that led up to the incident with your employees, and ask for their suggestions on preventing future mishaps. While privacy laws limit the amount of medical information you can share about the injured employee’s condition, do what you can to keep their co-workers generally informed.
Do you have a plan in place?
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