Reporting an injury also gives the employee solid evidence in case they wish to claim compensation. Doing so protects the employees as much as it protects the employer.
Getting injured on the job is no laughing matter. There are long-lasting legal consequences, not even to speak of the health and safety implications.
We spoke with some industry experts, like with Harrell and Harrell. They told us about the top three mistakes that employees and employers make after a job injury. If you are aware of these mistakes, you can avoid them and ensure that the workers and the business are legally protected.
Let’s start our list of the top three mistakes with the most common ones.
Injuries on duty aren’t always reported
Workers don’t always inform their employer, or management, about an injury sustained while working. Not reporting an injury is probably the most common mistake that most people make.
Sometimes the injury isn’t reported because they laugh it off, thinking it isn’t that serious. Other times, they may fear getting reprimanded by their managers, have their hours cut, or put on less pleasant duties.
The fact remains, everybody should treat an injury on duty as serious. The United States Department of Labour reports that at least 5,333 employees died while on the job during 2019. This statistic shows that injuries and accidents in the workplace happen every day.
This statistic is even worse in construction. It is often not a very well-regulated industry.
If you consider that not all workers report serious injuries, one can only wonder how bad the situation is. Yet, why is it so important to immediately report an injury while on duty?
Employees get access to better medical care
When a worker reports an injury immediately, employers can take steps to address the issue. Qualified personnel can determine whether the injury needs urgent medical care. They can also tell if the injury is less severe and requires only essential treatment.
This speedy response prevents the injury from worsening. It could also highlight possible dangers that the safety officer should address. When the safety officer or employer addresses these concerns, they improve the safety of other workers.
It improves accident investigation
Immediately reported injuries allow the accident officer to start investigating without any delay. Most often, the investigation will bear more fruit as well.
Whether it was a fall due to a faulty ladder, or a fire, the investigating officer can quickly determine the cause. This investigation also helps prevent future accidents from occurring in the same manner.
Another benefit of doing this is that the accident officer can record their findings. Typically, they will take photos and gather witness statements while on site. This report will help protect both the employer and the employee if the matter moves to litigation.
Employees fail to seek adequate medical care after an injury on duty
The second most common mistake people make when experiencing an on-duty injury is not seeking proper medical care. They tend to do this because they think the injury will heal over time or believe it isn’t severe enough.
Seeking proper medical care has several benefits that employers and employees can enjoy.
The injury gets the proper treatment it deserves
A medical expert, such as a doctor or therapist, can treat the injury with proper medical knowledge. Proper treatment will ensure that the employee can get back to work as soon as possible. It also avoids long-lasting health issues that may occur from the injury being neglected.
The doctor provides detailed medical records
The doctor can also provide employers and employees with detailed medical records. These records will indicate the severity of the injury. Should the injury move to litigation, the medical records are valuable tools to help a speedy resolution.
They don’t have the proper representation.
Last but not least is the mistake of not having representation. When an injury occurs, employers and even insurance companies will consult with their legal departments.
We encourage employees to do the same. Whether they decide to be represented by the union, or an attorney, an employee should never attempt to represent themselves.
When not having the correct representation may result in an injured employee’s case being dismissed. They could miss out on compensation, or more unethical employers may dismiss an employee without the right to do so.
Representation goes both ways, though. It is essential that legal representation also protects an employer.
Having the correct representation protects both parties. The legal representation will handle claims professionally and legally.
Prevention is far better than cure
We’ve all heard the old saying, and it still rings true today. Everyone benefits when employees and employers work together to create a safe and healthy workplace.
Some of the best pre-emptive steps that both parties can take to avoid injury are:
- Invest in extensive training for everyone. An employee that knows how to work safely is a safe employee that’s less prone to injury.
- Empower employees with first aid classes. Having a first responder on-site or in the workplace familiar with first aid basics can help prevent death or severe injury.
- Put strict health and safety protocols in place. These regulations will ensure that everybody works in a safe, injury-free environment.
Despite all the best plans that you may make, injuries will still occur. That is why it is crucial to have a detailed step-by-step accident plan.
This plan should detail all the steps. Steps should include:
- Reporting the injury
- The medical care that the employee received
- The findings of the accident investigation
- A post-accident report
The documentation needs to stay on an employee’s record to avoid any future claims or mishaps from happening.
Our final thoughts
Today, employers should encourage their employees to report accidents and injuries while on duty. Reporting an injury can help the employer improve their health and safety efforts. It also helps to avoid future injuries and lengthy litigation.
Reporting an injury also gives the employee solid evidence in case they wish to claim compensation. Doing so protects the employees as much as it protects the employer. Together, everyone can create a safe and healthy workplace.