Any workplace injury is serious and both the injured worker, as well as the employer, needs to take immediate action. Whether it is a serious accident on a construction site or plant floor, a traffic accident during a delivery, or a slip and fall on the office floor, following established company protocol can significantly reduce an employer’s liability. The same protocol should be followed even if the employee incident is due to a preexisting condition such as a fainting spell or seizure.
Workers Safety Expectations
Employers have a duty of care, under the health and safety laws, to provide employees with a safe workplace. A series of standards provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) afford workers safety expectations for a variety of industries. Routine safety issues such as trip and fall hazards are addressed as well as work involving elevated danger levels such as machinery operation and construction work. In addition, OSHA also emphasizes the importance of workplace injury prevention though training and education.
When an employer welcomes a new worker, he or she should be provided with a copy of the company’s safety expectations. In certain industries where the likelihood of injuries is above average, video training of safety procedures, followed by testing, may be required. Following training, the employee should agree to sign a form stating that he or she understands and agrees to comply with the safety rules.
Workplace Injury: Employer Responsibilities
If an employee is injured at work the employer will, in all likelihood, be liable even if the employee was careless. The company may face a lawsuit by the injured employee along with an investigation into the accident. How the employer responds to the accident initially can minimize exposure to legal trouble. Medical attention should be provided immediately by any on site medical personnel. If the workplace injury appears serious, 911 should be dialed without hesitation or the injured worker should be brought to an emergency department for evaluation.
Sometimes an employee will refuse medical attention. In this case the employer needs to have the refusal documented with a form, filled out by the employees supervisor and preferable signed by the employee. Any photos, videos and statements from other workers who witnessed the incident should be collected.
Workers Compensation Claims
When a workplace injury occurs the injured employee has the right to file a workers compensation claim. The employer must fulfill the request for a form to file a claim to the injured worker. The company should also file a report regarding the injury immediately and cooperate with requests for information from the workers compensation insurance provider and its legal representatives. The employer should channel all communication through the workers compensation provider, even from an additional legal entity, regarding the accident. Once cleared by a doctor to return to work, the employee must be treated the same as all other workers to avoid the risk of labor law violations.
Preexisting Conditions and Workplace Injuries
Some accidents that can occur in the workplace are unrelated to business activities. Preexisting medical conditions may exist, like dizziness and seizures that can lead to incidents. An accident may also be due to the influence of drugs, prescription or recreational, or alcohol. It is not for the employer to decide the reason for the incident. All incidents should be documented the same, even if it is a routine medical event for the employee. The worker should be asked to seek additional care or sign a form documenting his or her refusal. Any worker returning to the workplace following surgery, or any other medical event, must produce a letter from their doctor clearing them to perform their job, and any restrictions that may apply. A company can be held liable for an injury from bending, lifting or falling.
Workers Compensation Attorney
If you were injured on the job or if you are an employer whose worker was injured, you should seek the help of a qualified workers compensation attorney. The laws in workplace injury cases are more complex than you may realize. There may be a third party wholly or partially responsible for the accident, such as a maintenance company or subcontractor. The accident may have happened due to faulty equipment. Your workers compensation lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation and uncover the facts surrounding the incident. Call Vititoe Law Group today for a free consultation or reach out to us online.