We always promote risk prevention strategies in order to avoid injuries and incidents in the workplace, but the reality is that sometimes accidents do happen and people can get hurt. How an employer responds to a workplace injury is critical to ensure the safety of employees and the protection of the business. Poor reactions to injuries have resulted in messy lawsuits, so it pays to get this simple protocol right and communicate it to all areas of the business.
Here’s 5 things you need to do if someone is injured at work:
1. Get medical help.
You’re probably thinking that’s obvious. But it’s really only obvious to people when the injury looks severe. If the injury doesn’t appear life-threatening or acute, and if the injured person claims they are okay, it is common for people not to seek medical help. However a business can get into a lot of hot water if that seemingly ‘okay’ person ends up not feeling so great after time has passed. If an employer hasn’t had a medical professional check out the injury, they are vulnerable to litigation.
So even if an injury doesn’t seem serious, encourage employees to seek medical attention from your approved health provider as soon as possible.
2. Know the rights of your employees.
Keep up to date with safety regulations and legislations so that you know what your obligations are as an employer and understand the rights of your employees. For example, it is your responsibility to provide a claim form to any employee who has been injured. There have been instances where small businesses in particular have been hesitant to do this as they feel it may encourage the employee to make a claim. The fear of somehow opening themselves up to litigation stops small businesses from being forthcoming with information. However it’s the opposite that is true! By not providing information and claim forms, an employee has more of a case to sue the business. So it’s best to be transparent, helpful and adhere to the rights of your employees.
3. Start gathering information immediately.
Disputes can arise when an incident occurs so it’s critical to keep a record of everything. And the more evidence you can collect at the time of the injury, the better. You’ll need to record the victim’s account of what happened and interview witnesses. Photos and video footage should be captured to use as evidence during the reporting and claims process. When it comes to collecting information and evidence, more is better! You may not need to use it all, but it’s best to have as much detail recorded than to be missing information should a claim be made in the future.
4. Keep your Injury Register updated and accessible.
Not only is it important to keep this register updated, it is also a legal requirement to make this register readily accessible by all your employees. If a worker is injured, you need to advise them that you have been notified of this. Best practice is to provide them with a copy of the entry in the Injury Register that pertains to their injury.
5. Provide information on returning to work.
If an employee is unable to continue working due to injury, you’ll need to provide them with all the necessary information to help them return to work. This includes information on what your obligations are as an employer, and what their rights are as an employee.