No employer wants to see an employee get hurt on the job. You don’t want to see your employees in pain, and workplace injuries often have long-lasting effects on any business. But accidents are inevitable, and eventually you may find yourself dealing with a workplace injury or illness. This is why workers’ compensation insurance is a vital part of any business’s insurance plan. If you do ever have a workplace accident, there are six things you absolutely have to do.
Pro tip: Every state has different workers’ comp laws, so you need to make sure you know what your state’s laws are and what your business has to do to stay in compliance. The laws in your state could influence the amount of time you have to report a workplace injury.
1. Get medical attention for the employee.
You need to make sure that the injured employee gets the medical attention they need so they can get better. For emergencies, seek immediate medical care. Don’t take any chances. If the injury is not an absolute emergency, give the employee the name of a medical provider that’s in your network and make arrangements to get them there safely. Even if the injury seems minor and able to be dealt with using first-aid, never try to stop an employee from seeking medical care if they want to see a doctor. That could turn into enormous legal trouble.
After a workplace accident, it’s your job as an employer to investigate how and why the accident happened. You’ll need to visit the scene where the injury happened and look for clues, taking notes as you do. Put on your detective hat and have at it. Talk to witnesses and ask them for their take on what happened. Get several witness statements about the incident. Be methodical. It might help to have a set of questions prepared ahead of time for such an occasion so that you can be as thorough, detailed, and consistent as possible in your investigations. Investigations help you figure out how to prevent the accident from happening again, and preventing accidents can help lower your workers’ comp insurance premium.
3. Take steps to keep the injury from happening again.
Once you’ve gotten a handle on the situation, you gotta do what you gotta do to prevent the incident from happening again. Maybe that means blocking off the area with copious amounts of Caution tape. Maybe that means turning off machines and marking them out of order. Maybe that means removing the danger entirely. Whatever you need to do to head off another disaster, do it. If someone slips on a banana peel, doesn’t it make sense to remove the banana peel before someone else does a face plant? (Sorry, that was a bit glib, but you get the point.)
4. Report the injury properly.
It’s essential that you know how to report a workers’ comp claim quickly. This is why you have to study up on your state’s workers’ compensation laws. You need to know what paperwork and reporting you’re required to do by law – for example, you may have to report the injury to OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Plus, you need to know about any relevant deadlines. There may be a time limit that you’re working against. Certain forms and insurance necessities may have deadlines. Most likely, you’ll need to start by filling out a First Report of Injury or Occupational Disease.
You should also let HR, the employee’s supervisor, and the medical provider know about the situation. Even if you think the claim is fake, you have to report what you know accurately and without bias.
5. Submit the workers’ comp claim to the insurance company.
This is something else that needs to be done in a timely manner. The insurance policy may have certain deadlines that you have to meet when it comes to filing a claim, and your agent might have important information for you. The insurance company will need to know about the injury and resulting claim ASAP so that they can make timely payments and launch their own investigation. It’s in everyone’s best interest if you’re quick about filing the insurance claim.
6. Work with the employee.
Make sure to stay in touch with the injured employee. At an appropriate time, you can tell them about your company’s return to work program and answer any questions they might have. Together you can come up with a strategy to get the employee back to work. You can go over alternate duties for the employee to perform when they return. Basically, you don’t want your employee to feel like you’ve abandoned them or forgotten about them just because they’re not there. Don’t hover and be annoying, but make sure they know that you’re thinking about them and want to help them.
As an employer, it’s important that you’re prepared for the worst, and that means knowing how to handle a workplace injury. Your future may hold numerous phone calls and lots of paperwork, so buckle up. But take heart. You’ll get through the workers’ comp injury reporting process. Going through the necessary steps will ultimately help you take care of your employees. Workers’ comp exists for them, after all. It’s your responsibility to make sure that they get the benefits that they’re entitled to and that they get the care they need.
Do you want to get some free quotes for your business insurance? We would be happy to help with that! Our agents can help you identify the risks you face and come up with an insurance plan that will protect you from them. All you have to do is fill out our online quote form or give us a call and you’ll be on your way.