When inviting employees to work within a certain space, employers have a responsibility to make that space as safe as possible. Accidents may happen, but it’s important to avoid preventable injuries. Some jobs, such as contractors and construction workers, are filled with hazards that seem impossible to avoid. For others, however, it’s easy to implement safety measures.
- Purchase workers compensation insurance. Most businesses are required to carry workers compensation no matter if they have two employees or a thousand. This insurance helps pay for medical expenses if an employee is injured on the job. The rest of this list also introduces ways to avoid a workers compensation claim. While workers compensation insurance should pay for the medical expenses, an employee is still able to sue the company for certain injuries.
- Choose a safe space. Scour the work location for any health threats. This includes physical hazards as well as pollution or chemical hazards. If there are any potential issues, be sure they are fixed before company employees begin working.
- Provide safety training. Certain jobs have unique risks, such as dog kennels, where employees should be taught how to safely handle aggressive dogs to avoid bites. When hiring employees, provide training on specific hazards and how to safely deal with those risks.
- Have emergency plans. Create detailed plans in case of emergency and have these procedures posted where every employee can easily see.
- Describe physical job requirements clearly in the job posting. Employees should understand the physical requirements for the job they apply for so they can decide whether they can meet those requirements. This may help avoid workers compensation claims.
- Perform drug testing. Employees under the influence of drugs or alcohol are more likely to cause injury to themselves and others. Intermittent drug testing may prevent such accidents.
- Evaluate employees for safety measures. Evaluate your employees to ensure they are still following proper safety measures and that they are capable of safely performing the job.
What Happens When an Employee is Hurt at Work?
Though you take all the preventative measures possible, injuries can still occur. When they do, make sure the injured employee receives medical attention immediately. Clear employees and guests from the site of injury and document every piece of the accident. Take pictures if applicable. Once the employee receives medical help, have them document the incident on paper. Then contact your workers compensation representative. From there, the insurance company that provides your workers compensation insurance will investigate the claim (which is one reason it’s important to document every aspect of the accident) before deciding to offer compensation.
Even if your business has workers compensation insurance, an employee can still file a lawsuit. Intentionally criminal acts or injury aren’t covered beneath this insurance, nor are injuries that occur from a fight the employee started. Workers compensation typically helps cover the employer’s legal fees if the employee chooses to sue for certain injuries despite receiving workers compensation. Instances an employee might sue include:
- The business doesn’t carry workers compensation
- Discrimination or wrongful termination
- Sexual misconduct
- Violations of public policy, such filing a workers compensation claim
- Third-party injuries
- Toxic substance injuries or illnesses
- Flawed products or equipment
These instances are generally not covered beneath workers compensation. Workers compensation covers for physical injuries obtained on the job. Misconduct and discrimination are major issues that are not covered beneath workers compensation. To avoid claims concerning either of these issues, screen your directors, officers and other employees as well as provide sensitivity training. Creating a safe environment is the employer’s responsibility and not one to be taken lightly.