According to the International Labour Organization, approximately 317 million people are injured at work around the world each year. As a small business owner, you've taken every necessary precaution to prevent one of your employees from being injured while on the job. Unfortunately, despite your best efforts, there is still a chance that one of your employees could suffer from an injury that could keep them out of work for weeks, or even permanently. Here are a few simple tips to help you know what to do next if your employee is injured on the job, including the importance of hiring an attorney:
The Importance of a Well-Stocked First Aid Kit
Whether your employee suffers a minor scrape or a more serious injury, having a properly stocked first aid kit is critical. The United States Occupation Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, requires that any small business with two to three employees keep a well-stocked first aid kit on site. Here are a few of the items OSHA requires business owners keep in their first aid kit
- Gauze pads
- Adhesive bandages
- Something to clean the wound, such as sealed, pre-moistened towels
- Latex gloves
Once again, these are some of the items that OSHA requires, and the number of first aid kits you have is dependent on the number of employees working for your business. Additionally, it is important to let all your employees know where the safety kit is kept and to examine the contents at least twice a year.
Create an Action Plan
In addition to creating an OSHA compliant first aid kit, you should also create an action plan. This action plan will help prepare your employees and safety officer to respond quickly and correctly, in the event of an accident or injury.
Here are a few of the steps you should include in your workplace action plan:
- Designate a "Safe Place" – In the event of an accident, it is important to designate a safe place for the rest of your employees. This will not only prevent any additional accidents; it will also allow you to help the injured party more effectively.
- Evaluate the Situation – Carefully examine the scene and the injured party. If the injury is minor, such as a scrape or small cut, it is okay to treat them at work. However, if the injury is more serious or life threatening, it is vital to contact the authorities, immediately.
- Calling 911 – If you're unsure whether the injuries are severe, it is always best to not take a chance and call the proper authorities. Make sure there is a clear path to the injured parties, as well.
- Detailing the Accident – Finally, once the injured parties are cared for, it is important to document the scene, while the details are still fresh in your mind. Ask any other employees that witness the accident to fill out an accident report, as well. These statements will be invaluable in the event of a personal injury case.
Preparing for a Personal Injury Case
Unfortunately, one of the aspects of being a small business owner is the need to protect yourself in the event of a personal injury case. If an employee is injured while at work, it is vital for you to contact an attorney, immediately. Your attorney can help you prepare for your case, including the investigation, lawsuit preparation, settlement process and, if necessary, a trial.
Contacting an attorney immediately after the injury occurs, whether it is minor or major, is crucial. Even if your employee has no plans of seeking a settlement from the injury, it is still important to protect yourself in the future.
From providing your employees with a well-stocked first aid kit to making sure you have an action plan in place, there are several simple things you can do to prepare for an accident at your small business. For more tips for protecting your workers and your company from situations that require workers compensation cases, speak with an experienced attorney like Jack W Hanemann, P.S.