Injuries at work
So an employee tripped and fell at work, what do you do now? First, the employee must immediately report the injury to their supervisor – it is the supervisor’s and management’s responsibility to gather as much information as possible regarding the injury – the who, what, when, where, and how it all happened. This information should be documented on a report of injury or accident form. The employee should provide their own statement on how the injury happened and all witnesses to the injury should provide statements. Unless the employee is seriously injured or incapacitated, this documentation should be completed prior to the employee seeking medical treatment. If an employee decides that they do not need treatment, it is still important to gather this information in case the employee decides to get treatment later for their injury; the employee should also sign something stating they are declining medical treatment at this time. The injury should then be reported to your insurance carrier as soon as possible.
If the injury is serious, employees may be sent directly to an ER. In all other cases, employees should be sent to an occupational clinic for treatment. Occupational clinics are familiar with work-related accidents and are the best equipped to deal with most injuries. One of its best features is keeping the employer up-to-date on their employee’s injury, such as providing work status reports, follow-up appointments, and other treatment plans; this information may take days or even weeks to obtain and/or verify with other treatment facilities or hospitals.
Following your employee’s initial treatment, they should provide you with a copy of their work status and future scheduled appointments. You can require employees to schedule these appointments around their work schedule so they do not interfere with work hours. If an employee is given work restrictions, it is best to keep them working when possible. This may mean the employee is unable to do certain parts of their regular job and it becomes necessary to temporarily change an employee’s job duties. It is critical to never to ask an employee to perform work that violates their work restrictions as the company may be held liable if the employee is reinjured. However, if you are properly accommodating the employee’s restrictions and they claim to be in too much pain to work, do not just send the employee home. The employee should return to their treating physician. The employee’s doctor will determine if the employee is actually able to continue working or if their restrictions need to be modified.
If you cannot find work to accommodate an employee placed on restrictions, or their doctor takes them off of work, then, after a certain amount of missed days (depending on the state), the employee will become eligible for wage replacement benefits through your insurance carrier. The missed days do not count against an employee’s attendance only if the missed days are due to a doctor taking the employee off work because of the work-related injury.
It is the employee’s responsibility to adhere to their treatment plan. If all goes well, eventually the employee will be released from care, meaning that their treatment has ended and they can return to regular duty work. The benefit of UAP is that most of this work injury process is handled for you, including managing employee’s doctor’s appointments and gathering notes, providing guidance to managers and supervisors on tricky situations, and promoting smooth transitions for the employee between treatment and returning to work.
Accidents happen and a coordinated effort by both the employee and employer will ensure a smooth injury recovery process and prevent such occurrences from happening again in the future.