No employer wants to see a worker get hurt, but workplace accidents do occasionally happen. A strong action plan is the best way to minimize the risk of injuries and to handle them when they occur. Here are some top steps to take in the wake of a workplace incident:
1. Prioritize Safety
Everyone at the worksite should be trained in basic first aid. Get the injured worker to safety and implement first aid procedures as appropriate. Call 911 if needed. Delegate team members to turn off machinery, clean or cordon off the area where the incident occurred, or perform other core safety tasks to protect both the injured worker and others.
2. Offer Medical Care
Even if calling 911 was not needed, the employee may require medical assistance. Initiate a discussion with the injured worker about when, where and how to seek medical care.
3. Create an Incident Report
Under most circumstances, your workers compensation insurance will cover worker injuries, but everything must be documented. Create a detailed incident report including statements from witnesses. Take photographs as appropriate.
4. Call OSHA
All severe workplace injuries should be reported to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Because injured workers are also free to contact OSHA, it’s generally best to err on the side of caution and make an initial report yourself, even if you aren’t sure whether the incident would be considered “serious.”
5. Follow up with the Employee
Most states require employers to provide injured employees with a workers’ compensation form within 24 hours. Your employee will also have questions about time off and returning to work. Make sure you are familiar with the relevant laws, including the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and then work with your employee to create an action plan based on the medical advice his or her physician provides.
6. Check in with Your Team
Other workers who witnessed the incident may be anxious or upset. Open the lines of communication and encourage employees to speak with you or a designated representative about their concerns. Also solicit suggestions on improving safety for all your workers.
7. Learn from the Experience
After an incident is an excellent time to review your policies and procedures. There are generally many factors involved in a workplace incident, and your goal should be to reduce them as much as possible.
If your injured worker will be off work for some time, you may need to bring in a temporary replacement. If you’re in the Chicagoland area, Alternative Staffing can help. We offer fully vetted candidates for both general labor and skilled positions, and we work hard to build lasting relationships with our clients. Contact us today or call your local Alternative Staffing office to learn more. We look forward to working with you!