Addressing Workplace Injuries
As an employer in the state of California, you’re probably familiar with workers’ compensation. Under Labor Code Section 3700, employers are required by law to provide workers’ compensation benefits if they have one or more employees. Carrying this insurance is to your benefit, not just because it’s the law, but also because it prevents lawsuits in civil court.
But what do you actually do when a workplace injury occurs? Knowing your plan of action ahead of time will help everyone stay calm if an incident occurs. In this blog, we’ll give you a step-by-step outline of the appropriate way to deal with occupational injuries.
If you have a business in the greater Lincoln, CA area and are actively looking for a dependable clinic to partner with to handle workers’ compensation and other occupational medicine services, we’re more than happy to help. Call us at (916) 570-7265.
What is the employer’s responsibility when a worker is injured?
As the employer, you are responsible for keeping the workplace safe and your employees informed. Procedure manuals and employee handbooks should include sections on workers’ compensation and the reporting requirements surrounding claims. A Notice to Employees must be posted in a ‘conspicuous’ location on-site, at work. Supervisors should be trained in handling these events: when a workplace injury occurs, your leadership needs to know where, when, and how to report it.
It’s recommended to have a designated representative to whom all employees report incidents. They should be trained to recognize the severity of the situation and act accordingly, either deploying first-aid on the scene of the incident or relocating the employee to an emergency facility like ours. This person must be trained to take immediate action.
Once the threat to employee safety has been neutralized or otherwise resolved, you must document the event. Either called an “Incident Report” or an “Incident/Near Miss Report,” creating a detailed account of what happened (ideally with the help of the employee) is vital. Many employers will want a finalized version within 48 hours after the incident, but your company’s timeframe will be subject to state law. The faster you move on this, the quicker you can conduct an internal review of what happened and update best practices to reduce the likelihood of recurrence.
Internal reports are not your only consideration. According to Safe at Work California:
In California, employers must report deaths, serious injuries, and serious illness to the nearest Cal/OSHA district office, immediately. Immediately is defined as “as soon as practically possible” but no later than eight hours after learning of the event. And, this injury reporting standard is among the standards most frequently cited for violation by Cal/OSHA.
How do I file a claim for workers’ compensation?
Once the incident is documented, your next steps, as the employer, are to contact the carrier of your company’s workers’ compensation and file the report. The method of submission will depend on the carrier. They may require medical reports, injury documentation, or other paperwork that must be completed to have a workers’ compensation claim finalized. Stay in touch with the carrier to expedite the process.
It’s equally important to stay in touch with the affected employee. Intimidation/retaliation laws are serious in California: an attempt to box the employee out of the company or otherwise hinder the advancement of a workers’ compensation claim is more than unethical – it’s illegal. Make sure your employee understands their value to your company, and that their health/well-being is a priority.
That might mean making accommodations for the employee in anticipation of their return to work. Providing a timeline for their re-entry is a crucial part of this process, and should be the goal of both parties at the end of recovery. If the employee is ultimately unable to resume any of their duties or otherwise unable to return to work, you will have to decide whether to continue the leave of absence or end the employment relationship.
Workers’ Compensation at Lincoln Urgent Care
Lincoln Urgent Care is equipped to serve as your partner clinic in workers’ compensation. In the event of an employee injury, we can properly assess the physical condition of your worker in a speedy manner. This is critical for your required incident reporting process.
We also offer a variety of occupational medical services including drug screens, BAT tests, vision tests, lift tests, and more which can mitigate your risk as an employer, preventing workplace injuries. Read the full list of our employer services here.
Call (916) 570-7265 to speak to a member of our staff. We’re happy to walk you through the steps required to formalize an arrangement between your business and our facility. We look forward to speaking with you!