Occupational Injuries: 5 Important Things You Need to Know
Good employers aim to keep their employees safe and injury-free. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it also makes good business sense. After all, keeping your employees safe and healthy is much more cost-effective than dealing with the consequences of an occupational injury or illness.
Nevertheless, accidents can still happen and when they do, there are some things that you need to know.
Know what an occupational injury is.
An occupational injury is any injury which results from an action in the workplace. It can be the result of a slip and fall, a motor vehicle accident (if driving is part of the job), exposure to chemicals, the result of physical violence, or even as simple as stepping down from an elevated surface wrong. If an incident in the workplace leads to bodily harm, it can be called an occupational injury. It can sometimes be difficult to truly discern whether the cause of the cause of an injury was something that happened in the workplace; things get complicated when you consider factors such as pre-existing injuries, travel to and from work, and remote workers. Experienced, trained resources can help you navigate these particularly difficult cases.
Workplace injuries are expensive.
According to The Conference Board of Canada, preventable injuries cost our economy $26.8 billion per year.[i] The costs associated with workplace injuries impact an employer’s workers’ compensation premiums for anywhere from 3 to 6 years, depending on the province. An increase in claims frequency and/or severity will likely cause your workers’ compensation premiums go up, as well. There are also indirect costs associated with occupational injuries and illnesses: lost productivity and replacing an absent worker have an impact a business’s bottom line, as well.
When an employer invests money into health and safety, it is estimated that they will see a return of $3 for every one dollar spent!
Know the most common workplace injuries (and how to prevent them).
The most likely workplace injuries at your business depend largely on the work environment. Office workplaces tend to have a higher incidence of repetitive motion injuries, including carpal tunnel syndrome and back pain, whereas construction sites and factories may have a higher likelihood of falling from a height or machine entanglement. Risk assessments can help you to identify specific concerns in your workplaces, as well as regular safety evaluations of the work environment and equipment. When you identify any unsafe conditions within your business, it is vital to immediately take corrective action and rectify the situation.
It is essential to assess the risks of your worksite and take measures to mitigate these risks.
Know what to do after a workplace accident.
Knowing what to do after an employee is injured is crucial for any employer. After getting the injured worker to a safe place and ensuring they receive the necessary medical attention, it is important to document as much information as you can about the incident. Make sure you complete first aid forms, modified duty offer forms, and any other paperwork needed for the administration of the claim. Letting the worker know what to expect from you, as a business, and what is expected from them will set you up for smooth claims management.
Keeping the lines of communication open as much as possible with the injured employee will help to facilitate their return to work if and when they are able to do so.
You have a duty to accommodate.
Employers in Canada have the duty to accommodate injured employees, provided that it does not cause them undue hardship. Accommodating an injured employee may mean modifying their duties or work hours, or it may mean providing them with assistive devices. It is proven that recovering at work is beneficial to the employee; staying in touch with the workplace and safely developing their physical wellbeing at work reduces total recovery times. Accommodating injured workers also means less time loss, which directly translates to lower WCB premiums. Maintaining productivity and employee morale is another benefit to worker accommodation.
Contact TeksMed today.
Did you know that TeksMed can help employers who are dealing with occupational injuries through our disability management and return to work programs? To learn more about how we can help your business, contact us today.