Taking proper steps after a workplace injury is vital
You might think that your workplace is the safest place in the world, but accidents can and will happen. Especially if you work in a restaurant or deal with chemicals, it’s likely someone will have a slip-up eventually — perhaps literally. And even if you work in an office, you might be surprised how often a repetitive strain injury (RSI) happens — such as carpal tunnel syndrome — from simply typing away at a computer all day.
The key to dealing with a workplace injury is to have a plan in place beforehand. Below, we’ll dive into how to make sure that your workplace is prepared to handle any kind of injury, from a simple cut to a serious injury that needs immediate medical attention.
- Prepare and create a culture of safety
The best defense is a good offense, as they say. One of the first things you can do as a manager or business owner is to create a culture of safety. Make sure to discuss safety on a frequent basis. “Frequent” will be up to you and will depend on the type of industry you’re in. For example, in a high-risk workplace, such as construction, you might want to hold monthly safety meetings but in low-risk settings, like an office, quarterly meetings would suffice.
You might even want to consult an occupational health professional to examine ways in which employees could become injured, conduct a risk assessment, and how to avoid injuries all together with safety tips. Make sure that your office or workplace has an adequate first aid kit and consider encouraging all or some of your employees to get trained in basic first aid.
Another way to create a safety culture is by rewarding those for safe behaviors to keep employees engaged and motivated to work in a deliberately safe way. Make sure that all of your employees give you an emergency contact to call should anything happen to them on the job.
- Know what to do
If an employee suffers a burn in your restaurant, do you know how to respond appropriately? First and foremost, when someone gets injured, attend to the employee first rather than bury your nose in the rule book. You’ll need to determine if the injury is bad enough to warrant medical attention.
In a non-emergency context, your employee should still go to a hospital or doctor. This is when it’s important to know your worker’s compensation carrier so you can see an in-network provider. In some cases, you may even have access to a nurse hotline where you can get guidance on first-aid steps to ease the discomfort of your employee. On the other hand, if the injury is life-threatening, immediately call 911.
- Secure the scene of the accident
If possible, close off the area where the injury occurred. In some cases, the local law enforcement or Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) might be called for an investigation.
- Fill out the appropriate paperwork
You’ll need to file an incident report with your worker’s compensation carrier within a day (24 hours) of the injury. This is where it’s important to have PBM solutions for workers’ comp established, which can help the injured employee make sense of any pharmaceutical needs that are necessary to treat the injury.
You’ll have to find out if you can make the workers’ comp claim over the phone, over email, or on the phone.
- Implement a work-return schedule and plan
Even if an employee experiences a relatively minor injury, it can still mean that employee is gone from work for a few works or even months. However, the longer an employee is away from work, the harder it may be for him or her to return to work.
With that in mind, it’s a good idea to try and implement a schedule and plan for the employee to start work again. Consider starting out with limited hours rather than forcing them to adapt to full-time right away.
Takeaways: workplace safety is crucial
The worst thing a business owner can do is ignore workplace safety and not implement any kind of plan to deal with injuries. But with training plans in place, an adequate safety culture, and a first aid kit, you’ll be ready to handle any injuries that occur at your place of business.