Workers fall ill or get injured on the job every day. That’s one of the reasons why virtually every state, including New York, requires employers to purchase workers’ compensation coverage to pay for costs, lost wages and other incident-related expenses.
You might wonder what steps you should take if an employee suffers an on-the-job injury or falls ill at work but says that they’re fine and don’t need to see a physician to get checked out. What steps should you take in a situation like that to avoid liability issues down the road?
Steps you should take following an employee accident
Depending on the industry you operate in, you might have the procedure for handling workplace illnesses or injuries down pat. You should always take the following steps after someone suffers an injury or illness on the job:
- Cordon off the area to preserve evidence and to take photographs of the scene.
- Take the worker victim’s statement if they are capable of making one right away.
- Identify witnesses to the incident and take their statements.
- Ensure that your worker receives necessary medical attention.
- Provide your employee with a workers’ compensation claim form.
You’ll want to make sure not to assign blame to anyone. Your sole focus should be on documenting the incident and getting your injured or ill workers the help they need.
Don’t let an employee’s reassurances prevent you from documenting the incident
You may have some employees who think that they’re tough and can “shake off” their injuries. These workers may tell you that they’re fine when you ask if they’re hurt. Don’t take their word for it and let the incident go undocumented.
It’s critical that you document every workplace injury or illness incident that occurs, even when your worker tells you they don’t need help. Some injuries or illnesses take time to manifest themselves. You run the risk of exposing yourself to more significant legal liability if you can’t produce documentation regarding an incident.
How to minimize your liability exposure when workplace injuries occur
Not taking the right steps following a worker’s injury accident may be far more costly for your business than handling it appropriately in the first place. An attorney can provide sound advice for minimizing your liability risk as a self-insured business owner.