The Business of Handling Injuries on the Job

shutterstock_107386784For most companies, an employee injury on the job is inevitable. Even a company with just a handful of workers is likely to have a few bumps and bruises.

Often, these small business owners are unaware of their responsibilities with a workplace accident or injury.

When not handled properly, it can mean a lawsuit and other repercussions.

Employers’ Responsibilities

State regulations govern the specifics for businesses and workplace injuries. It is important for every small business owner or manager to know what these regulations are.

Some general guidelines exist across the country:

  • Fill out a first report for the injury and forward it to your worker’s compensation insurance carrier.
  • Make sure the employee has access to medical attention if it is needed even before you hear from your insurance company.
  • Respond to all requests for information from your insurance carrier in a timely manner.
  • Provide documentation as needed to your insurance carrier.
  • You may not terminate an employee because of a workplace injury.

Furthermore, an employer has the responsibility of providing a safe work environment for his or her employees.

If it is decided that the injury was due to the conditions of the workplace, the employer may be liable.

Prevention is always the first step, which is why regular inspections of equipment and conditions are essential to preventing workplace injuries.

Know Your Coverage

Many employers purchase workers’ compensation coverage with no idea what it really covers. They only know that it is required by law, so they buy the minimum amount needed.

However, it is important to know exactly what is covered by this insurance to determine if you will bear any additional responsibility.

Certain injuries in the workplace are not the responsibility of the employer.

They include:

  • Injuries related to a felony
  • Self-inflicted injuries
  • Injuries that are the result of alcohol or drug intoxication
  • Injuries that result from a fight with another person when the employee starts it
  • Injuries that are claimed after termination or a layoff
  • Injuries that occur to an independent contractor

As the following article looks at, injuries that occur because of an employer’s neglect or reckless behaviors allow the employee to sue the employer in court for a personal injury.

Employers should always maintain good records for anything that involves the workplace and the employee to protect them in such a situation.

Have Procedures in Place

Any time a workplace injury occurs, the employer should follow procedures and guidelines established by his insurance company to the letter. The employer should provide all information in writing with copies of this information kept in a file.

Once a workplace injury case is resolved, the employer should seek to determine how and why it happened and how it can be prevented in the future. Companies that have frequent claims may be charged higher rates or even dropped by the insurance provider.

Everyone makes mistakes, but it is important to learn from them and prevent future injuries to workers.

Furthermore, it is essential that every small business employer know what his or her responsibility to their workers is in the case of an injury in the workplace.

About the Author: Joyce Morse is an author who writes on a variety of topics, including workers’ compensation and running a small business.