Occupational safety should be a major concern for employers across all industries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 2.9 million employees became injured or sick as a result of work conditions in 2016. Furthermore, OSHA reported that 5,190 workers were killed on the job in 2016. It’s clear that there’s still a long way to go when it comes to ensuring work places are free of hazards.
Workplace injuries and illnesses have many negative effects on a business. They can lead to decreased productivity and retention rates and have a big impact on your bottom line. As one Philadelphia workers compensation lawyer explains, employers can be responsible for paying compensation to injured workers for up to 500 weeks. For most, that’s hardly a sustainable business model.
Beyond the inherent responsibility employers have to keep staff safe, those are all major reasons why employers should take a preventative approach to workplace safety. However, that’s not a guarantee that everyone will remain safe. If an employee does get injured on the job, it’s important that your business knows how to react in such a case.
Seek Medical Assistance
Finding help for the injured party as soon as you become aware of the situation should be done before anything else. It’s an essential part of the post-injury process, and can help protect both you and your staff as more information is learned about the incident. 911 should be called as necessary. Even if there are no apparent injuries, encourage your employee to seek medical attention to make sure everything checks out.
It’s important to know exactly what your duties are as an employer when a worker is injured. The employee will likely file an accident report, and it’s your duty to provide them with all necessary information and documents.
OSHA provides an employee’s report of injury form. In it, the injured party and accident surveyor are both provided space to describe the injury, conditions under which it took place, and whether there was anything that could have been done to prevent the injury.
Employers should strive to understand how the accident happened. Keep records and documentation of the injury site, and gather facts from the injured employee and any other potential witnesses. Take photographs of the site and keep track of any and all information that could be used on a claim form.
All of the gathered information will help you complete this form so you can submit it to the claims office in a timely manner. This is where employers can describe their safety initiatives and explain their side of the story if necessary.
Take Preventative Measures
It can take as long as three months for the administrator handling your case to reach a decision on whether or not your employee’s claim has any merit. Be sure you’re checking in on the employee during this time and keeping up-to-date with their condition.
Regardless of whether or not the claim is accepted, it’s important to take measures to ensure similar situations don’t happen in the future. Complying with OSHA workplace standards is essential, but often confusing.
Working With an OSHA Expert
Partnering with an expert on OSHA guidelines is a great way to make sure that you’re putting the right preventative measures in place. It’s especially important in cases where a worker has been injured due to negligence or compliance violations. These specialists can provide safety training to your team and assess the conditions of your work sites, providing recommendations where needed.
An OSHA expert can also help if claims are brought to court. After the expert has inspected a worksite, they can provide vital assistance to legal teams. As the expert is well versed as to the responsibilities an employer bears when it comes to workplace safety, they can help streamline the litigation process and provide in-depth knowledge to legal teams.
Your expert can even take care of investigating the accident. As a neutral third party, they can get to the bottom of the accident without bias and determine whether or not any violations occurred.
Workplace injuries are an unfortunate, and often preventable, reality in many industries. If an accident does take place at work, it’s essential that an employer takes all necessary steps to ensure both the injured employee and business are taken care of.
Working with an OSHA expert is a great way to help yourself throughout this process, and can be a valuable resource to prevent future accidents. Investing in your employee’s safety today will provide measurable benefits across the board.