Most companies/businesses have a safety and wellness program aimed at preventing work-related injuries. Such a program entails safe work practices that allow for a safe working environment for all employees while saving money for the employer. Unfortunately, despite everyone’s efforts, accidents can still occur and cause work-related injuries. These injuries commonly result from slips and falls, repetitive motion injuries, hazardous materials, acts of workplace violence, poor lighting, physical and metal fatigue, and so on. The effects of such injuries can be anything from broken bones, occupational illnesses, psychological injuries, and even aggravations of pre-existing conditions. If you are injured at work, follow these simple steps to help minimize the above effects and protect your legal rights:
Report Your Injury
The first thing to do if you are injured on the job is to report the injury to your employer as soon as possible –in writing if possible. This should be done following the internal injury reporting procedures. You must be very clear and specify how and when the injury occurred. Reporting an injury properly and in time ensures you don’t lose any legal rights, including the workers’ compensation benefits that you may have to receive from your employer. Ensure your employer makes an official accident report, and keep a copy of that report as proof that you reported the accident.
Following a work-related accident, you should obtain first aid if the injuries are serious and get the necessary medical care. Your employer will refer you to a health provider who’s authorized by the Workers’ Compensation Board, except in an emergency situation. Inform the doctor that the injury is work-related and ask them to fill out a Workers’ Compensation Certificate. If you prefer another doctor or seek a second opinion, it may be worth it covering the expenses yourself. Having a long term disability insurance cover offers an excellent financial safety net in case an injury/illness leaves you disabled and unable to work again. A long term disability insurance coverage costs about 1% to 3% of your annual income.
Attend Any Medical Examinations
The next logical step is to follow the doctor’s instructions to the letter. This includes attending any medical examinations if you are required to, and continuing medical treatment as well as rehabilitation for your injuries. Workers’ compensation laws require injured employees to participate in rehabilitation and return-to-work programs to ensure a speedy recovery and all-around wellness.
If possible, you should make detailed notes of the incident and take photos of any visible injuries soon after the accident. You can also request a verbal statement from witnesses and make a short video of them giving their account of what happened. It’s also important to record any interactions (relating to your injuries) with the company and insurance representatives. Keep a thorough record of times, dates, and exactly what was said during any conversations. Ensure all receipts, records, medical notes, certificates, and any other information relating to your injuries are kept in a safe place.
Employees are entitled to file a claim for their work-related injuries. Complete a WorkCover claim form and submit it to your employer or mail it directly to the nearest Workers’ Compensation Board office with all of your evidence. If the claim is not filed within a specified period of time, you risk losing your right to benefits. Workers’ compensation benefits cover economic losses due to a work-related injury/illness such as medical expenses, future rehabilitation costs, and lost income.