If you are in business – even if your only employee is YOU – chances are you are going to experience a workplace injury incident. When (not if) an injury occurs at your business, how you and your team react is vital. Appropriate response to an injury incident not only helps ensure that the injured worker is promptly and properly treated, but also paves the way toward smooth handling of the claim by your workers’ comp carrier.
When a workplace injury occurs:
1. Assess the condition of the injured worker and determine whether or not medical treatment is needed. If the injury is serious – call 9-1-1 immediately.
2. If the injury requires medical attention, but 9-1-1 is not needed, have a manager or supervisor take the injured worker to a healthcare facility. For minor injuries, a walk-in occupational clinic can often treat the injured worker quickly. Some states dictate that work comp injuries can be treated only by approved doctors or clinics. Most however disregard the rule in case of an emergency. Remember that hospital emergency departments are always open…
3. Have a manager or supervisor alert the healthcare provider via telephone that you are on the way with an injured worker. Be sure the healthcare provider is told that the injury is work-related. Be prepared to give the clinic your insurance information. Also alert the clinic that a post-accident drug screen is required if your company policy dictates.
4. After the dust has settled – but the same day of the incident if at all possible – notify your work comp carrier of the incident. Most comp carriers have a “kit” issued to policy holders at the onset of the policy that explains how to handle reporting of a workplace injury incident. Most carriers have an “800” number for claim reporting.
After a workplace injury has occurred:
1. Obtain a written statement from the supervisor of the injured employee that contains the steps that lead to the incident – what the employee was doing, how the injury occurred, etc. Secure similar statements from any witnesses to the incident. The comp carrier’s adjuster assigned to the claim may use the information to properly adjust the claim. Regardless of whether or not the carrier asks for the statements, it is good practice to use the supervisor and witness statements internally when determining the root cause of the incident and ways to prevent future occurrences of the same type.
2. Investigate any incident as soon as possible after the injured worker is cared for to determine the root cause of the event. In the case of a serious injury, expect a call from either the claim adjuster assigned to the case or the carrier’s loss control / safety department. The carrier may choose to have an independent safety expert located in your area to do an on-site investigation of the incident. Be sure to document ALL investigation elements – take pictures of the scene and particularly any mechanical equipment involved.
3. After treatment is complete and the injured worker has returned to work, counsel the employee regarding the incident. If the incident was caused because the employee violated a safety rule of your business, take the appropriate disciplinary action according to your Employee Handbook policy regarding safety rules.
While most of the steps listed above are straightforward, dealing with a serious workplace injury and the aftermath can be daunting. The Safety and Work Comp teams at Employers Resource make all the above steps much easier than attempting to tackle them alone. For example, Employers Resource Work Comp Group can take injury incident information by phone thus eliminating the need for filling out state forms to go to the carrier. Employers Resource reports the claim to the carrier and then sends copies of the state form back to the client.
The Safety Team at Employers Resource has vast experience in incident investigation, root tree analysis to determine the cause of the incident and over 100 years of combined experience in assisting client companies with ways to prevent future occurrences. Give us a call to learn how Employers Resource can help your company.