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What to do when an employee injures themselves at work

Thursday, 21 November 2013 | By Lachlan McKnight

It can be scary when a worker injures themselves in the workplace. Even if you’re running a start-up you still need to comply with all the relevant employment rules and regulations.


The best approach you can take is one which includes care, observes your legal obligations, communicates with your insurer and aims to get the worker back to the workplace.


Immediately following an injury


You need to help your employee when they are injured; this might mean getting them first aid or helping them with medical transport.


As soon as possible you should then assess what caused the injury and remove this risk – particularly if it looks like something that may cause more injures in the future.


You should discuss the incident with other workers who witnessed it to work out what happened.


Notify your worker compensation scheme


You need to notify your Scheme Agent within the first 48 hours of the injury. Depending on what state you live in, you may also most have legal obligations to complete your workplace Register of Injuries as soon as the injury happens.


When you contact your Scheme Agent you will probably have to provide basic details on the injury and the injured worker.


Assist in lodging a worker compensation claim


When a worker is injured you are required by law to provide them with a claim form and you need to explain they can make a claim through your worker compensation scheme.


It’s important to remember that worker compensation eligibility does not turn on employer negligence. Worker compensation schemes are “no-fault schemes”, so it is not necessarily an indictment on you if an injured worker’s injury is accepted by the insurer.


After you have received the claim form, you need to lodge it with your insurer, along with any relevant medical certificates.


Documenting the injury


You need to try and get information as soon as you can about the time/date of the injury, precise location, how the injury happened, witnesses and document what medical treatment/first aid has been provided. This will be of tremendous benefit to everyone in the process in the long run.


The injury management plan


In most states you are required to develop an injury management plan. You need to involve the injured worker and your Scheme Agent in this process.  The plan should include information about medical treatments and suggest any arrangements which may lead to a return-to-work outcome.


Creating a return to work plan


Now this part is crucial – you need to develop a return-to-work plan for the injured worker with all parties involved. You have a legal obligation to provide suitable alternative duties to an injured worker to assist them in returning to work as early as possible – without aggravating their injury.


What constitutes ‘suitable duties’?


Suitable duties are alternate duties a worker can perform whilst they are recovering from injury. Some options are:


• Part-time duties

• different duties

• retraining options

• some or all the above.


Identifying suitable duties


Here are some tips to identify suitable duties:


• make a list the previous duties in the worker’s job

• make a list any the medical restrictions

• have a meeting with the worker and their treating doctor about any restrictions and capabilities

• discuss these options with worker’s supervisor

• meet with the worker early on to review their progress


If you need assistance with any employment law issue, contact the LegalVision team!