Actionable steps that employers and employees can do when faced with a workplace accident.
Workplace accidents happen at unexpected times. Injured workers end up missing several days of work, others even suffer total disability due to amputated body parts, losing their ability to earn money. For employers, the reality of workplace accidents prompts them to ensure that workers’ compensation benefits are offered to employees. Also, they set forth safety policies that follow the international health and safety standards.
However, accidents still happen because of different reasons, including equipment or tool malfunction, human errors, or failure to follow safety guidelines. So, what can employers and employees do when an accident happens at work?
Find out the actionable steps that employers and employees can do when faced with a workplace accident by reading below:
Ensure Health and Safety
A critical step when an accident occurs at work is ensuring the victim’s health and safety. Move away from the victim and perform other emergency measures, such as shutting off the main power for the machinery that caused the accident. First aid and contacting the emergency response team would also help aggravate the situation.
To ensure workplace health and safety, here are the duties and responsibilities of employers and employees:
- Companies should employ in-house medical professionals to assist and give first aid treatment to all injured workers.
- Employers should also provide appropriate first aid training and safety awareness to all new employees before the actual work, most especially in the manufacturing industry.
- Consulting an accident attorney can help employers and employees assess the situation or review the safety policy. They can also provide legal advice on the next actionable steps for faster resolution of the problem.
Report the Workplace Accident
It’s crucial to report all work-related injuries or illnesses to the supervisor immediately. The immediate supervisors must submit a report of the workplace accident within 24 hours to the Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) through the Online Accident Reporting System (OARS).
OARS has been developed with the help of the University of Washington. Since it provides consistency in data reporting, assessing trends, and contributing to injury prevention, using OARS makes reporting easier. OARS electronically automates the data reporting process of work-related injuries by mandatory forms accessed online, such as the OSHA 300 log form.
Here are the things employers should know about reporting work-related accidents and illnesses:
- Employer Responsibility: Employers should use the OSHA Form 300 to record all work-related injuries and illnesses occurring in the workplace in detail, such as the employee’s name and job title, the nature of the case, where and when the accident occurs, and the number of on restricted or days away from work.
- Types of Reportable Injuries or Illnesses: All new cases of work-related injuries, illnesses, and fatalities must be recorded in the form if they involve medical intervention beyond first aid, loss of consciousness, severe injury, a disease diagnosed by a licensed medical health professional, days away from work or restricted work, transfer to another job, or death.
- Reporting: Once an employer receives a notice about the injury or illness, the report must be submitted within seven calendar days. All workplace injuries or illnesses must be both recorded on the OSHA 300 Log form and the Form 301 Incident Report.
Know The Legalities
Governments have set forth laws to protect employees when workplace accidents happen. Organizations, like the World Health Organization (WHO), have already developed several workplace guidelines and public health standards for employers to follow.
These include guidelines for water safety, radiation protection standards, indoor air quality guidelines, and international chemical safety cards. Also, WHO is continuously developing guidance documents on electromagnetic fields, occupational exposure to nanoparticles, optical and UV radiation, and occupational risks.
Despite all the safety protocols in place, an accident may still arise in the workplace. When an accident happens in the workplace, both the employee and the employer would need to deal with legal matters.
When facing a workplace accident, here are some useful tips to ensure compliance with the law:
- Consult a personal injury lawyer. Doing so can help both employers and employees understand their legal options when they experienced accidents at work, especially accidents that resulted in severe injuries or damages.
- Preserve all evidence by keeping the incident area away from other employees or unauthorized persons until proper documentation has been carried out.
- Notifying the insurance company as soon as the incident happened is very important. This is to give them a fair warning and help maintain a positive relationship between businesses and insurance companies.
Know and Set Proper Expectations
Both concerned employees and employers should know what to expect when an accident happens in the workplace.
For employees, injuries can be minor or fatal, like spinal cord injury. Employers are expected to provide paid leave and workers compensation benefits. Jobs offering hourly rate or salary-based payment should provide paid leave to the injured worker until the full recovery from the injury.
Employers should also expect to provide employee compensation, depending on the situation. It’s common for victims to work with a personal injury lawyer in pursuit of just compensation. For this reason, employers should also be legally prepared.
Here are the other employer’s expectations if an employee is injured in the workplace:
- OSHA Inspection: Expect that the Occupational Safety and Health Association will visit to check and ensure the safety situation and work conditions in your company. Keep calm and explain the situation. Show them your safety guidelines or policies in place.
- Insurance Rates: Expect a possible increase in your insurance rates after an accident occurred in the workplace.
- Safety Regulation Changes: Employers must review their existing safety guidelines and make the necessary changes or improvements to prevent the same accident from happening again. It’ll help avoid future safety problems that can be costly and damaging to the business.
Whenever an accident happens at work, both the victim and the employer should deal with the situation. All parties should comply with the law. Health and safety must be prioritized, which includes providing first aid treatment and hospitalization as needed.
Reporting is also an important aspect of any workplace accident case, wherein employers must report all work-related injuries and illnesses to appropriate agencies for recordkeeping and tracking. For the prompt resolution of the case, knowing the legalities and expectations is essential to know the next actionable steps.
Roger Watsons is a full-time blogger who has been contributing articles to different websites for years now. Most of Roger’s articles talk about automobiles, business, finances, and self-improvement.