Occupational Hazards

Responding to an employee injury correctly can help ensure that the employee maintains a positive relationship with the employer and returns to work as soon as possible.

Here are some guidelines.

Provide the injured employee with medical treatment. Depending on the nature and severity of the injury, you may need to call an ambulance, transport the employee to the nearest emergency room, drive the employee to your clinic, or allow him or her to drive to the clinic.

Get a description of the injury from the employee within 24 hours to determine exactly what happened and how the injury occurred.

Have the employee fill out a claim form (DWC-1 provided by the insurance company).

Provide the employee with two pamphlets: "Facts about Workers Compensation" and "Rights to Workers Compensation Benefits and How to Obtain Them", both provided by the insurance company.

Fill out Employer's First Report (form #5020, PDF) or report the injury to your insurance carrier immediately by phone. Most carriers have a toll-free number for reporting claims.

Call the clinic to obtain a medical diagnosis and advice regarding work restrictions. Let them know whether or not you can provide modified duty, according to their recommendations. Maintain communication with the clinic and/or doctor; stay informed regarding medical treatment, physical therapy and modified work restrictions.

Discuss the incident with the Supervisor and/or the insurance company's loss control personnel to determine how the accident could have been prevented and what safety measures are being implemented.

Contact the employee regularly and stay informed regarding his or her progress and when he or she will be returning to work. Advise employee whether or not you can provide modified duty.

Maintain open communication with the adjuster. Be sure to relay any suspicions you may have regarding potentially fraudulent injuries or concurrent employment.

Make sure to advise the adjuster immediately if the employee returns to work or if employee cannot work.

If you should receive paperwork from an attorney's office regarding an employee injury that you were unaware of, it is critical that you report the injury to the insurance carrier as soon as possible. The carrier has 14 days to delay a claim and 90 days to accept or deny it, from the first date on which the employer receives any information, whether by verbal or written notification.