No employer wants to see an employee get injured at work. But unfortunately, work-related injuries can and do happen, even when employers do everything they can to prevent them. When an employee sustains an injury, whether it’s major or minor, you must take appropriate action to ensure the individual gets the medical care they need and that the injury is properly reported. Having an effective first aid plan in place, and communicating it to all employees, will help ensure proper action is taken to protect the injured employee’s health.
Make sure the employee receives appropriate care
A workplace injury requires an immediate response. The first step is to evaluate the need for medical attention. If emergency medical assistance is needed, call 911 and administer appropriate first aid while waiting for the ambulance to arrive. Workplaces that are not in close proximity to a hospital, infirmary or clinic are required by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) to have a first-aid provider on-site. A first-aid provider is someone who is trained in the delivery of the initial medical emergency procedures, using a limited amount of equipment to perform primary assessment and intervention until emergency medical services arrive.
Even if your workplace is not required to have a first aid provider, it’s advisable for workplaces to have a dedicated individual or individuals who are trained in first aid and made responsible for administering appropriate care and maintaining a comprehensive first aid kit. These individuals should be identified in your first aid response plan, and employees should be instructed to alert them promptly following an injury.
First aid should also be given promptly for minor injuries. This may include removing splinters, cleaning and bandaging cuts, providing fluids for heat stress, applying hot or cold therapy, or dispensing nonprescription pain killers.
Report serious injuries to OSHA immediately
All employers, regardless of industry or size, must report an employee fatality to OSHA within eight hours or a severe work-related injury within 24 hours. Severe injuries include those requiring in-patient hospitalization or those involving amputation or the loss of an eye. In-patient hospitalization does not include treatment in the emergency room. Serious injuries or deaths that resulted from a motor vehicle accident on a public street or highway or on a commercial or public transportation system do not have to be reported.
Report injuries to your workers compensation carrier
Employers should give timely notice of reportable injuries to their workers compensation insurer, in accordance with the law in their state. Generally, employers must report injuries that cause a worker to lose time from regular duties beyond the workday or shift on which the injury occurred, or that require or will require the worker to receive medical treatment beyond first aid.
Keep records and report injuries to OSHA annually as required
OSHA requires many employers with 10 or more full-time employees to keep a yearly log of all work-related deaths, injuries and illnesses, except for minor injuries that only required first aid treatment and that did not involve medical treatment, loss of consciousness, restriction of work or motion, or transfer to another job. Promptly collect and record information on each injury, including who was involved; where, when and how the injury occurred; and how many days the employee was away from work or on restricted or light duty, if any. Covered employers must fill out forms 300, 300A and 301, all of which are available on the OSHA website, and retain these records for five years. Further, employers with 250 or more employees that are subject to OSHA’s recordkeeping regulation, as well as employers with 20 to 249 employees in certain industries with high rates of occupational injuries and illnesses, must submit Form 300A annually, even if no reportable incidents occurred during the year.
If you need assistance with an OSHA matter, contact the OSHA lawyers at Sheehy Ware Pappas & Grubbs. We have assisted hundreds of employers in OSHA matters, including compliance, investigations, settlement mediation and litigation.