As if having an accident at work isn’t bad enough as it is, the whole situation can sometimes involve a myriad of seemingly tedious, but crucial details which can easily be overlooked. There’s no good time for accidents, but to top things off, it always feels like they happen at the worst possible time. The pressure and holdbacks they add are often enough to throw a small operation off balance.
You can never be fully prepared for an accident, but talking to your employees about this possibility from the get-go and laying a foundation of guidelines and instructions on what to do in case of an accident can tremendously mitigate all the direct and indirect consequences for both parties. At the very least, it will give your employees the peace of mind that comes from knowing they work at a safety-conscious, fair, professional establishment.
In the spirit of the better-safe-than-sorry philosophy, here’s a list of steps in the order they’re supposed to be carried out which employers can get their employees to follow in the event of an accident at work.
1. Take Care of the Injury First
Many employees feel panic and possibly even guilt over a workplace accident. They might try to cover it up or simply shake it off as if it’s no big deal.
You need to stress to your employees the importance of treating any injury from an accident, no matter how small it may seem. Best case scenario, they should use the first-aid kit or have another employee help them if it needs be; worst case, they need to leave everything else and be taken to the hospital or emergency room.
2. Report the Accident to Your Colleagues
If the accident happened when nobody was around, somewhere without cameras, it might as well not be a work-related accident. Even if there were cameras, it’s best that the employee informs a colleague as that’s the closest thing to having a witness.
3. Report the Accident to Your Manager
Informing the manager should go without saying, but some employees might decide to skip that step and take it only once a health problem has arisen, at which point so will have various legal issues.
Employees need to inform managers without second-guessing, no matter how big or small they think the accident was. It is vital to report workplace accidents right away
to record crucial information.
4. Record the Accident in the Accident Book
The accident book is something some organizations tend to overlook as it messes up their safety record on paper, but that shouldn’t put any pressure whatsoever on employees to cover accidents up.
If an employer refuses to put the accident in the accident book, the employee should email the employee, describing the accident the same way he/she would have done in the book.
5. Take Photos and Video Evidence
While many employees might dismiss this act for being sly, they should remember it would only come in handy against a sly employer, looking to evade responsibility and shift the blame on the employee.
Nothing beats a clear, undisputable photo or video that captures hazardous work conditions at the time of the accident.
6. Go to Your GP and/or Hospital
This is basically like an official diary of your symptoms and condition, kept by a professional. If an employee goes to the doctor only once right after the accident, it can be argued that all the symptoms and injuries have disappeared afterwards. This can be pivotal to the outcome of claims that span a long period of time.
Going to the doctor regularly back the claim up with medical evidence. Not to mention all related medical expenses will be covered by the employer’s liability insurance should the claim be successful.
7. Consider Submitting a Grievance
If the accident stems from poor work conditions or hazardous requirements like, for example, lifting heavy objects, then the employee can still submit a grievance.
It’s important that it’s written in a professional and civilized tone, and if it’s held against the employee regardless, then that might be a cause for a whistleblowing employment claim.
8. Keep a Record of Expenses and Losses
This is absolutely imperative as it’s directly reflected in the size of the compensation. There can be a myriad of direct and indirect expenses and losses from an accident, from the most obvious like missed pay, to pre-booked holidays that couldn’t be taken, increased electrical bills and consumables, and anything else that’s a byproduct of the injury. You can use a claim calculator
to see how much an injury can add up to, especially if you want to file a claim.
Even the most rigorous safety protocol can’t prevent accidents with a 100% certainty. However, a crucial part of the precautions is a plan for action once they’ve failed, one that assures all parties involved are treated fairly.