Employee Safety Plan

All businesses have an obligation to offer a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. This obligation is more than a moral one; it is the law. According to the federal website Business USA, in 2010 more than 3.1 million nonfatal injuries happened to workers while on the job. The site explains further:

"Under the provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, as the employer, you must provide a workplace free from recognized hazards that are causing, or are likely to cause, death or serious physical harm to your employees regardless of the size of your business. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was established to create standards and regulations that implement the Act."

The number of pages that OSHA has for implementing, regulating, and enforcing workplace safety is in the tens of thousands -- far too many to go over in one blog post. But, OSHA requires all employers to have a plan for when an employee suffers an injury or illness on the job. Following are some tips to help you with yours.

1.  Seek medical attention. Sometimes, injuries do not have symptoms for hours or even days after they occur. Have a doctor check your employee out with the tests they consider proper.

2.  Document the incident as soon after the incident as possible. Talk with anyone who saw the incident. Take photos and if needed, draw diagrams. Your business should have an accident/injury report form. Make sure your documentation complies with OSHA reporting and documentation record keeping policies. The rules differ for small employers (10 or fewer employees) but your worker's comp carrier also may have specific documentation requirements no matter what size your business is; check with them.

3.  Provide reports, if applicable. While all businesses have OSHA regulations governing them, some states have added requirements. The United States Department of Labor provides state-by-state reporting requirements.

Every state requires you to carry worker's comp insurance for good reason. In addition, under OSHA you need to pay for medical expenses and give injured employees short-term or long-term disability leave.
OSHA and worker's comp exist to protect employees from on the job injuries and illness and to care for them if such incidents happen.

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