Workplace injuries are common with approximately three million workplace injuries and illnesses occurring annually, according to the US Department of Labor. Not only are workplace injuries bad for business, but they can have a lasting impact on employees who suffer injury.
For instance, a workplace injury can result in an inability to work, and inability to function in a worker’s personal life as well. An injury can be chronic and require medical care, medication, and rehabilitation for life.
Falls are the number one workplace injury, happening at a rate of nearly 40 percent. Other common workplace injuries include, being struck by something, electrocution, and being caught between objects.
Businesses need to ensure workers are safe and not just to protect their business from legal issues. Protecting workers from common workplace injuries is a must for businesses, because they are in many ways obligated to keep safety a top priority. Unfortunately, this may not be a reality in most cases.
This is why employees need to have the knowledge to take correct actions after an injury. To help, here are four workplace injury tips you need to know as an employee if a mishap does happen.
1. File An Official Accident Report ASAP
Accident reports are vital to ensuring you are protected as an employee if injured in the workplace. Even the most minor of injuries, like a cut on the hand could lead to serious medical problems down the road. If you failed to file an official accident report, you will most likely receive no assistance and have no legal claim.
This is important in the case of falls, the most common workplace injury. Falls may not result in immediate pain or issues, but injuries to the neck, back, and occupational knee injuries can become debilitating later on. Make sure you are eligible for workers compensation at any moment by filing an injury report.
2. If A Workplace Injury Arises After The Fact, Tell Your Employer Immediately
Let’s say that you felt a slight tweak in your back, but nothing really was stopping you from working that day. However, after a day or so, your back tightens and you can barely move to get out of bed. Guess what, you have a workplace injury.
If you didn’t file a report at the moment of the tweak, get into your HR office and file a claim immediately. Your employer will not be able to process any paperwork with the workers compensation insurance company until they have an official report in their hands.
After filing the report, be sure to check-in and ensure the report is actually filed by your employer to the insurance company. This is important, because you can’t get the coverage you deserve without it.
3. Get To The Doctor And Get Your Injury Documented
When you have a workplace injury, file an official report with your employer, and then get to the doctor. If the injury seems serious at the time of the accident, call for EMS to come and go with them to the hospital.
Why is this is a big deal? Some businesses will use the actions you take after a workplace injury against you if a legal case happens. If you walk to your car and drive to the doctor, but find out you have a cracked vertebrae, an employer can simply say you were up and walking without issues after the accident.
Of course, most businesses take injuries in the workplace serious and do the right thing, but always cover yourself. Having a medical report documenting the injury is more insurance if you do need to go to court.
4. Understand That Not All Workers
Compensation Is Created Equal
The laws for workers compensation vary by state. This means that the workers compensation you may receive after a workplace injury can be different. All employers need to have insurance for accidents, but in some instances, you may not be able to file a lawsuit.
For instance, if you are injured at work you will have no issues getting the compensation you need, even if it is not due to employer failure to protect you as a worker. However, in other cases, you may have no right to compensation at all. This is when a lawyer may be needed.
In Conclusion . . .
Never assume that your employer is on the ball when it comes to compensating you after a workplace injury. You need to always take a proactive approach, since an accident at work can become a lifelong disability. Talk to your HR and find out what’s covered, the guidelines, and know what to do after an accident to get the compensation you need and deserve.