Injured Employee? What Are Your Next Steps?
If you have an employee that gets injured while on the job, it is your responsibility to ensure that you help that employee with his or her immediate medical needs. You also need to report the injury incident to your workers' compensation insurance company. After that, what are your next steps? To ensure that you help your employee as much as possible and prevent any similar injuries in the future, while also ensuring a smooth claim's process, here are four things that you should do:
1. Thoroughly Investigate the Incident
As an employer, you must investigate every incident that occurs at your workplace. The purpose of this is not necessarily to find who was at fault for the incident; instead, the goal is to understand what happened so that you can help prevent similar injuries from occurring to another employee.
You will need to go to the scene of where the accident occurred and talk with anyone that witnessed the accident to get as many details as possible. Don't forget to take photographs of the scene, as these will be needed by your insurer and they may help you later identify something that you missed while on the scene.
2. Maintain Open Lines of Communication with the Injured Employee
As soon as you can after the employee suffers an injury, get in contact with him or her. Make sure that you answer any questions he or she may have regarding recovery, return to work, etc. Some injured employees will become isolated and/or depressed because they are scared they will lose their jobs. If you maintain open lines of communication and get in touch with them early on, you can reassure them that you care and that you're looking forward to when they will be back on the job.
3. Arrange for Your Employee to Return to Work
Once your employee's doctor clears him or her to come back to work, make sure that you are ready for them. This is true even if there are medical restrictions that keep the employee from returning to his or her previous job. It isn't uncommon for injured employees to be cleared to come back to work for light duty, reduced hours, etc. Try to accommodate your employee however possible.
4. Talk to Your Insurance Claims Representative
It is important that your insurance claims representative is notified immediately about your injured employee. This helps to ensure that the state deadline is met for wage-loss benefits. Once your employee is allowed back at work, phone your representative and let them know.
When necessary, don't hesitate to reach out to a workers comp attorney.