How to respond when your employee is injured

By Michelle Hopkins | 02/13/2019

Your Employee Got Hurt at Work: Now What?

It may not be possible to eliminate the risk of injury at work entirely. No matter what your company does or how big it is – one of your employees could get hurt at work. Do you know how you would respond?

Plan for a Workplace Injury Ahead of Time

Prepare now by finding a medical provider before an injury occurs. A workplace injury can usher in temporary confusion and panic, so it’s important to plan ahead. While you might think it best to send your injured employee to the emergency department, it could be unnecessarily expensive and time consuming to do so.

Because of this, you should identify medical centers in your community ahead of time. It’s a good idea to visit them before sending your employee there so that you know which conditions the medical center can treat and where your employees can go to get care. Your employees will be more comfortable going to a clinic that they know you have visited first.

What to Do When an Injury Occurs

Your first priority should be getting first aid or emergency medical attention (if the injury is severe) for your injured employee. If necessary, you should also contain the situation and/or evacuate other employees to prevent additional injury. After first aid is provided, your employee may still need to visit a medical center. Concentra medical centers offer an advantage because you can call and get complimentary transportation for an employee with a work-related injury to the medical center. Now is a good time to plug in your zip code and find a Concentra location.

If your employee decides to file a workers’ compensation claim, you will submit a Worker’s Report of Injury. The medical provider and employee will submit documentation to the insurer. This documentation will indicate if your employee can return to work or not and if work restrictions are required.

Workers’ compensation is administered at the state level, so requirements and processes for reporting a work-related injury often differ from state to state. It may take up to 90 days for a claims administrator to decide to accept a claim.

Answer Employee Questions After a Workplace Injury

An employee who was injured at work not only is dealing with the injury, but may have questions surrounding their livelihood and maintaining normalcy, as much as possible. After a work injury, the employer should communicate regularly with the injured employee and the clinician and physical therapist (if applicable) to help promote efficient recovery. Below are three of the most common questions employers receive from injured employees:

Do I get paid while I am recovering from my injury?

Generally, if an employee is disabled due to a work-related injury, under the care of a doctor, and eligible to receive workers’ compensation, he or she will receive weekly pay based on his or her current wage and the state’s formula for calculating workers’ compensation.

How soon must I report an injury at work?

It varies from state to state, but is often anywhere from 10 to 90 days.

What if the injury was my fault?

Workers’ compensation is no-fault insurance. In many states, a workplace injury may not be compensable if the injured employee was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, engaging in willful misconduct or horseplay, or violating known work policies. Understanding your state’s workers’ compensation provisions is helpful for employees and employers.

Prepare for Workplace Injuries in 2019

Regulatory and societal trends present challenges to you in preventing and managing workplace injuries – increasing the need for support from an occupational health specialist. The national workforce is aging and is increasingly obese, which can contribute to workplace injuries. Dealing with chronic conditions is also a growing health care cost. Also, by 2020, forecasters say more than half of all employees will work remotely and one-third of the workforce will be millennials, who are seen as less likely to report unsafe working situations than older employees.

You know the possibility of work-related injuries is an ever-present concern. There has never been a better time to sit down with an occupational health specialist to develop a strategy to get prepared.

*This document is an overview and does not constitute legal or medical advice. Employers should always consult with their legal counsel and human resources professionals.

  1. https://www.osha.gov/Publications/safety-health-addvalue.html Occupational Safety & Health Administration, accessed Oct. 9, 2018.
  2. https://www.osha.gov/Publications/safety-health-addvalue.html Occupational Safety & Health Administration, accessed Oct. 9, 2018.
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  4. https://www.shrm.org/ResourcesAndTools/legal-and-compliance/employment-law/Pages/Court-Report-EEOC-wellness-regulations-vacated.aspx Society for Human Resource Management, “EEOC Wellness Regulations Vacated Effective Jan. 1, 2019,” Jan. 18, 2018