7 Steps to Successful Workplace Injury Management
Ensuring that your employees are safe and healthy at work is your number one priority. If your workers aren’t safe, they won’t be as productive and your costs for the treatment of work-related injuries will skyrocket.
However, even under the best workplace conditions, illnesses and injuries still occur. How you respond after an injury can make all the difference in health outcomes, employee trust and future injury prevention.
Here are seven steps to take for successful workplace injury management.
1. Provide Immediate Injury Evaluation
Many work-related injuries are the result of accidents, which can lead to confusion and delays in getting injured employees the proper treatment. Studies have shown that, the faster an employee receives an assessment for their injuries and begins treatment, the better their healing.
If you don’t have a post-accident policy, or your workers aren’t properly briefed and trained on your policy, that could delay appropriate evaluation for injured workers.
Whenever possible, immediate injury assessment and triage — either at an onsite clinic or via a nurse line — can help your injured workers get the care they need as quickly as possible. Even minor injuries such as cuts and burns benefit from quick attention and first aid.
2. Promptly Document and Report Injuries
Once the injured employee has been assessed and a basic treatment plan is underway, documenting the injury and any incidents that contributed to it is critical. As time goes on, spills get cleaned up, memories of events can fade and crucial information can be lost.
Document the circumstances that surrounded the worker’s injury, including as many photos, measurements, descriptions and details as possible. If the injured worker is stable, take their statement first, using their assistance to help you identify any other witnesses who may have key details.
Should the worker’s injuries result in an OSHA recordable incident, you’ll be well on your way to getting that process started and avoiding fines for late reporting.
3. Route to Appropriate Medical Care
Based on the results of the injury assessment, getting the injured employee to the appropriate medical care is key in ensuring a speedy recovery and safe return to work. For many work-related injuries, first aid — when directed by a medical professional — may be all that’s necessary to treat an injured worker.
However, in those case where the worker’s injuries require more intensive or specialized care, getting the employee to the right level of care is important to improve their healing and control your costs. If, for example, a worker has a sprain that needs medical attention but isn’t an emergency, sending that employee to the emergency room results in long wait times, an inappropriate level of care for their injuries and higher medical costs.
Instead, that worker may be advised to seek care at a lower-cost and less busy urgent care facility, or with their primary care physician. This helps your employee get the care they need without the frustrations of sitting in a waiting room for hours when they don’t need to be.
4. Support Safe Return to Work
The goal after any workplace injury is always to get the employee healthy and back to work. Working together with your employee, their medical professionals and any other team members (such as the injured employee’s supervisor) to develop a personalized return-to-work plan is essential to improving your worker’s outcomes and helping them stay healthy and happy.
Whenever possible, a nurse case manager should be used to aid in this process. These professionals can communicate with offsite medical providers and evaluate that the treatment your employee receives is effective for their injuries.
A nurse case manager also can help you in the event that your employee is cleared to return to partial duty, ensuring that the tasks the employee is given won’t exacerbate their injuries and set back their progress.
5. Thoroughly Investigate Incidents
Understanding what caused your employee’s injuries is essential to proactively address the problem and prevent future injuries. This process will begin with the incident report and other relevant information that was collected immediately following the worker’s injuries.
Analyze the incident as thoroughly as possible, looking for signs of equipment failure, unsafe work practices, inadequate training or holes in your safety policies. If you do find a root cause, take the steps necessary to fix the problem and prevent any future incidents.
6. Foster Frequent Employee Communication
Workplace safety is a team effort, and everyone is responsible for ensuring the health and safety of all employees. This includes creating an environment where you communicate any unsafe conditions to your employees — along with information on the steps you’re taking to correct the problem — and encouraging your employees to report any hazards or safety concerns.
When you do receive reports or complaints, communicate to your entire team the issue in question and clear steps you’re taking to correct the problem. This helps build trust with your employees that, not only do you take their safety seriously, but you are committed to listening to their feedback and acting on it.
7. Promote Proactive Prevention
When paired with open lines of communication between leadership and workers regarding safety concerns, proactive prevention can be incredibly effective in avoiding further workplace incidents. Consistently check your jobsite for known hazards, working swiftly to correct any you find.
By making prevention a part of your regular routine, as well as the routine of your entire team, you can more effectively prevent hazardous conditions that could lead to accidents and injuries.
Your Partner in Workplace Health and Safety
At Medcor, we’re committed to helping employers make their workplaces safer, healthier, better places to work. Our onsite clinics offer immediate attention for those workers who are injured on the job, and our 24/7 injury and illness triage service provides expert guidance outside of normal business hours. These services, along with our safety training capabilities, can help you decrease the instance of work-related injuries and reduce your healthcare costs when injuries do occur. Speak with an advocate today.