There’s often some confusion over the proper steps to take when a workplace injury occurs. Here’s a look at what needs to happen in the event of an injury.
The most important overall consideration is time. You’ll obviously want workers to promptly seek medical attention, but follow-up interviews and reporting should be done quickly also. There are legal reasons for this, but studies also show that the faster the workers’ compensation process is initiated, the lower the ultimate cost of the claim. Conversely. the more time that elapses between an incident and an employee interview, for example, the more likely it is that the accuracy of someone’s account of the incident will suffer. Witnesses may forget details, or their stories might be skewed by conversations with others.
Here are the things that should be done within 48 hours of a workplace injury:
Refer employee for medical attention: Seek immediate care for emergencies, and refer the employee to an in-network provider for less urgent matters. Even if you suspect that an injury is not serious, you must not stand in the way of an employee seeking medical attention.
Assess and investigate: Visit the site where the injury occurred and take notes regarding the surrounding area. If an unsafe condition is obvious, block off the area or remedy that condition before allowing any work to continue. Document the location with photographs. Speak with witnesses or others who were nearby at the time of the incident and document their responses. Again, the sooner this is done the more accurate that information is likely to be.
Report the injury: The Department of Labor stipulates several reports that must be completed when an injury occurs. In Maryland the employer must file a First Report of Injury (FROI) form, and the employee (when able) must file an Employee Claim Form (Form C-1). Both may be completed online. Others who must be informed include the HR department, the employee’s direct supervisor and the medical provider who treated the employee.
Even if you suspect that the injury is not legitimate, this is not the time to share that view. All reporting should be presented in a clear and unbiased fashion.
Communicate: The employee should be provided with a full review of work restrictions and conditions surrounding their leave, as well as the possibility of any transitional duty roles that may be available as they recover.
Submit the claim: Although last on this list, submitting the claim to your workers’ compensation insurer should be a top priority. Your insurer can be a valuable resource for information regarding medical care options, and will want to begin their own investigation as well. Promptly submitting the claim is also an important first step in getting timely payments to the injured employee.
Questions about workers’ compensation coverage or claims? Contact Consolidated Insurance.