How Should a Small Business Respond to On-the-Job Injuries?

Despite your best efforts to create a safe workplace, accidents can happen to your workers. Just because you are running a small business, doesn’t mean that you are at a lower risk of fatal or non-fatal accidents; it just means that fewer people would be injured because there are fewer employees. Having said that, every life matters and as a business owner, you’re responsible for the safety of all your employees while they’re on the job.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is an agency under the US Department of Labor. OSHA has set rules for businesses and industries to follow and maintain in case of workplace injuries. These regulations also protect working men and women from getting injured in the first place. OSHA may also provide training sessions to increase knowledge about occupational health and injury. 

Unfortunately, this does not guarantee that accidents will not happen. This is why it is crucial that you remain prepared for possible accidents and learn how to respond to them. Not taking action after an accident or taking the wrong action will cost you; you can be sued and fined, and wind up paying for things that could have been avoided had you taken the right course of action. Worst of all, you may damage your reputation, which can be hard to recover from. 

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To avoid these severe consequences, this article will help you know what you should do in case of a work-place accident.

Be prepared

Being prepared is a broad and loose term, so we want to narrow down what being prepared actually entails. 

Preparation could include the following:

  • Having a ready response for different types of accidents
  • Training your employees for emergency responses
  • Having first-aid kits available
  • Keeping an emergency contact for each employee 

These are some of the various precautionary measures to take that will quicken your initial response to accidents.

Respond immediately

Just a few minutes can make all the difference. A quick response means:

  • Making sure the non-injured employees stay away from the scene of an accident 
  • Contacting an emergency number for help 
  • Assisting the injured person. Some injuries might only need some minor care which you can handle by yourself, but more severe injuries will need immediate professional care. 

Collect evidence

You can help your employees by assessing the situation on the spot. The earlier you do this, the more helpful it will be later on. You can start by gathering witness testimony, documenting details of the accident, and taking pictures of the injured person(s). Even if someone doesn’t look injured, they might be. Sometimes, injuries only show up days after an accident. 

It’s always possible that the injured party might file a claim or sue the business owner. The personal injury fault and liability laws vary from one state to another and that is why the attorneys strongly recommend sharing the evidence collected with an experienced personal injury lawyer in your area. This is to ensure that your lawyer will be knowledgeable with local laws and will know how to accordingly whatever the situation of your case may be. If you do get sued, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open between the business owner and the employee. It’s in the owner’s best interest to do so because the longer it takes to reach a settlement, the more expensive it could get. Ideally, an injury claim should be settled out of court, and an attorney specialized in these kinds of cases can do that for you.

Complete the necessary paperwork

Employers are required to keep all records concerning any work-related accidents. They need to file an incident report and this is usually done via OSHA’s form 300, which is basically a log of work-related injuries. A fatal injury or severe work accident must be reported within 24 hours of the accident.  The same applies to any claims to be reported to a workers’ compensation carrier. 

Return-to-work program

An injury can keep people out of work for weeks or months at a time. In many cases, an employee might be medically allowed to work, but not as much as they used to before the accident. For instance, they can work a desk job rather than a job that requires a lot of movement. By implementing a return-to-work policy you will be able to help an injured employee get back to work, albeit performing different tasks. Transitional or modified jobs help the injured employee work while also allowing you to keep an experienced worker or employee on-site.

Unfortunately, work-related injuries are just all too common, from falls, slips, and trips to fatal and severe injuries. You want to do your best to help your team members if they are physically hurt. Ideally, your help should come before any injury happens. It’s your responsibility to ensure that employees are kept safe as much as possible at the workplace, so take the necessary precautions and make their safety your number one priority.

[About the author: Arthur Brown is a dad of 3 kids and is a keen writer covering a range of topics such as Internet marketing, SEO and more! When not writing, he’s found behind a drum kit.]