In 2016, private industry employers reported 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses. While some injuries or illnesses are mild, allowing the employee to miss no work, others are more serious.
In fact, 892,270 missed work in 2016 as a result of their injuries. Whether it's a cut, sprain, fall, or something else, a serious workplace injury can create a lot of complications.
Which is why it's so important to know exactly what to do if you're injured while at work. The quicker you take action, the safer you'll be.
That's because it's not just your physical well-being that's affected when you're injured. You have to protect yourself legally.
With that in mind, here's how to handle an on the job injury.
The First Steps To Take After A Workplace Injury Has Happened
Often, after someone has been injured, they are in shock. It's not easy to focus on what to do next. Employees who have witnessed the injury may be too frightened unless they have been trained on how to handle emergencies.
That's why it's so important to know what to do before an injury at work happens. Knowing what you should do ahead of time ensures you take the right steps to protect yourself and others from any type of further harm.
Get To Safety
Immediately following a work accident, get the injured party and all others to an area where everyone is safe from further harm. An injured person who can't move in a high-traffic area is susceptible to further injuries.
Take them to a quiet area so you can assess the situation properly and safely.
Prevent Anyone Else From Being Inured At Work
If there is any chance of anyone else getting hurt at work, if you or someone else is able, take steps to prevent any further injuries.
Turn off any machines, clean the area, or send people home, if need be. The most important part is to make sure everyone stays safe.
Seek Medical Treatment
After a work accident, decide whether the person requires medical attention. Call 9-1-1 immediately if the injuries are anything other than minor.
For an injury at work that's minor, you can apply first aid to treat cuts and bruises.
File A Report
Filing a report after getting hurt at work is extremely important. This ensures both the injured employee and the company stay safe from a legal standpoint.
File a report with the employee's supervisor. This initial report is the foundation for a worker's compensation claim. While the injured employee may not file one, you still need to create the report.
Get the incident on paper. Interview any employees who witnessed the accident.
Contact An Attorney
If the workplace injury is serious enough, it's a smart idea to contact an attorney. Whether you're the owner of the company or the injured party, it's smart to ensure you're legally protected moving forward.
This is especially true if the work accident is due to someone else's actions or workplace negligence.
Also, personal injury claims are notoriously complicated, getting the help of an attorney will help save you time so you can start receiving your benefits immediately.
Click here to find workers comp lawyers in your area.
File For Workers Compensation
As the injured party, you can take legal action. If you choose not to, it's time to file for worker's compensation benefits.
These benefits will cover the on the job injury you've sustained, regardless of how it happened or even who's responsible for it. Worker's comp should cover the majority of any costs associated with your injury.
Continue To Seek Medical Treatment
If you're injured at work, but it's determined you don't need emergency services, it's still wise to follow up with your doctor as soon as possible.
Make sure you're okay. Sometimes injuries don't show themselves until later.
For those who were seriously injured at work, continue to go to all your doctor's appointments. If you decide to pursue matters legally and it's discovered you skipped doctor's appointments, the assumption will be that you weren't injured as seriously as you're claiming.
Be Aware Of The Statute Of Limitations
If you're planning on filing for worker's comp, it's important to do so immediately. Otherwise, you may lose out due to the statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations for worker's comp is different for every state. If you wait too long, you may be barred from collecting on your benefits.
You are entitled to receive payment for your medical expenses as well as any wages lost as a result of your work accident. But in order to do so, you must notify your employer.
In Pennsylvania, while you technically have 120 days after the date of your on the job injury or the date you became aware your injury was work-related. However, it's still advisable to notify your employer immediately as the longer you wait means a higher probability of having your claim denied.
How To Prevent A Work Accident
The easiest way to stop people from getting hurt at work is to take steps to prevent injuries and accidents in the first place.
Start by repairing or replacing any equipment that is old, broken, or improperly used. These are all common causes of workplace accidents.
Create workplace safety processes and procedures. Make sure every employee receives a copy and is properly trained on what to do when an injury at work happens.
Once a year, review your safety processes and procedures to see if any improvements can be made. Discipline employees who do not follow workplace safety procedures properly.
Reward those employees who report unsafe conditions.
Provide warnings and proper documentation for areas where hazardous conditions exist. Hang written instructions on how to use equipment properly. Post warnings on what happens when equipment is misused.
Train your employees to help them understand properly workplace safety procedures. Ask them for their input to help make everyone safer at work.
Host workshops or seminars at least once a year to remind everyone about important restrictions, standards, and procedures.
Stay Safe At Work
While high productivity levels at work are important, staying safe is even more important.
If you don't feel safe at work, it may be time to either speak up to your employer. Most workplace injuries are preventable but only if everyone takes steps to follow rules and procedures.
Another way to avoid a workplace injury is to find another job where the company takes safety seriously. To find your new career, click here.