Employee safety matters a great deal and the last thing anyone wants is to see a coworker hurt. However, the reality is an injury can happen to anyone at any time and without notice. The most important thing is to have a plan in place before an incident occurs. This way your organization can spring into action and help those who are hurt. It’s also important to ensure your organization is in compliance with federal safety regulations. We compiled a seven-step action plan to help get you started:
The first step when an injury happens in the workplace is to assist the injured employee and prioritize their immediate needs. You will want to ensure the employee receives the proper medical attention and you will need to determine what type of care is appropriate given the severity of the incident.
Minor injuries like a cut or a sprain may not require medical assistance, whereas more severe injuries may require you to call for an ambulance or provide transportation to a licensed medical professional. You can either consult the medical provider designated by your workers’ compensation carrier, or you can bring the employee to an urgent care facility nearby.
Once you have attended to the immediate needs of your employee, the next step will be to contact your management team to communicate that the incident has happened and communicate the pertinent details.
You will want to make note of the location, the people that were involved, the injuries sustained, and the medical treatment that has been administered. Communicating this information to your management team allows them to then notify other team members that need to know, and it allows them to take the proper steps for ensuring team safety going forward.
Once an employee is on their way to receive medical treatment for injuries, you should secure the scene of the incident as quickly as possible. Blocking access to the location of the event ensures the safety of your other employees and prevents a repeat incident from occurring.
Securing the scene of an accident is crucial for both safety and reporting purposes. By limiting access to the area of the incident, you will preserve the scene and this will allow you to have more accurate and thorough incident reporting. With less people on location, you have a greater chance that the scene is left untouched, and this can give you a more accurate picture of the events that contributed to the incident.
Beyond ensuring individual employee and total team safety, completing an incident report is one of the most critical steps to take after someone has sustained an injury at work.
OSHA requires employers to keep records of work-related injuries and illnesses using their formal documentation. You should complete and file the incident report within 24 hours of the accident. Gathering witness testimony within a day of the accident can help improve the accuracy of the testimony because the incident will still be fresh in the minds of your witnesses.
Additionally, prompt incident reporting produces better outcomes for both the employee and the company. It’s vital that you waste no time in completing the incident report so that insurance companies can quickly process the claims and your employees can receive the treatment they need.
Claims placed on hold because of delayed incident reports typically also cost more than claims that are reported promptly with the completed paperwork. Delayed claims can cost businesses thousands in increased premiums or penalties for late reporting.
After an accident happens at work, you will want to do everything you can to ensure it never happens again. Employers hold a unique position that allows them to influence their entire organization for the better and they can cultivate a culture of safety in the workplace by implementing safety protocols and safety education for all team members.
Leadership teams can show employees that safety is paramount to the organization by prioritizing safety, providing education and training, and praising good safety practices. You can use the incident as a learning tool by asking yourself what could have been done to prevent the injury and by asking yourself how the response could have been more effective. By locating the gaps in workplace safety, you can implement changes to address those gaps and prevent other lapses in security and safety.
Including your employees in safety protocols will encourage them to take ownership of their safe conduct and you can provide incentives for following safety guidelines and for taking proactive steps to pursue safety at work. The bottom line is that when your employees are safe, they’re healthy, happy, and more productive.
Many workplace injuries result in time lost on the job. As an employee spends more time in recovery, the return to work can feel physically and emotionally daunting. To set your employee and the rest of the team up for success, establish a return-to-work program or plan.
If an employee has a long-term injury, you can set up a transitional or modified job so they can return to a work routine sooner rather than later. These transitional roles can be temporary and don’t necessarily need to be the same as before the injury occurred.
Providing a program like this enables workers to regain their footing as an employee, while allowing them to maintain an income and continue their connection with the company.
At the end of the day, your employee is more than just a number; They are a vital part of your team and you want to communicate the value they hold on a personal level.
A good employer should do more than take care of the logistics after an injury. They should also follow up with employees to ensure they are emotionally and physically healing. Using clear and compassionate communication with your employee can show them that you care and that you can work together to create a realistic plan of return.
This type of care demonstrates to the rest of your team that you value them, and it can help to improve your employee retention rate and worker satisfaction in the long run.
No employer wants to see one of their workers injured. But if it happens, you now have an action plan to follow for handling these incidents professionally and with care.
Quick responses, thorough reporting, and compassionate care will build your employer brand and create a company culture of safety that will benefit your entire team.