Small Business Brief

Safety & Loss Prevention

Legal Talk: What to Do if Your Employee Gets Injured at Work

If you’re like most employers, you put a premium on workplace safety. You issue safety manuals and remind employees about following safe procedures.

Yet, it’s the exceedingly rare business where no employee gets injured at work. Accidents and mistakes happen even when everyone behaves conscientiously. Just in 2017, reports place the total, non-fatal workplace injuries at around 2.8 million.

If you find yourself managing an employee’s workplace injury, do you know what steps you should take? If not, keep reading for a quick guide on what to do.

Have a Plan

Waiting until a workplace injury happens before setting out protocols is the worst thing you can do. You need a plan in place before the injuries happen, so everyone knows their roles and expectations. 

A few things you need on hand include:

  • a first aid kit
  • phone numbers for local medical facilities
  • numbers for emergency services

As a general rule, you also want a few people on staff with first aid training. If you want to encourage first aid training, offer on-site training for your employees or cover the fees for training elsewhere.

Develop an accident/injury report form that includes space for descriptions of the injuries, the event, and the location. Encourage photo documentation of the scene and visible injuries.

Render Aid

Render whatever aid seems prudent at the time. For example, you can bandage cuts. Just make sure the employee doesn’t move if you suspect a head, neck, or back injury.

Send the employee to a doctor immediately or call the ambulance yourself if the injury seems at all dangerous.

Inform Your Insurance Company

Once the employee leaves for medical treatment, call your insurance company and report the incident. They’ll probably request you fax or email the accident/injury report and any photographs you took at the time. 

Your insurance company may pursue a settlement with the employee if the injury seems severe.

Inform Your Lawyer

If you retain a lawyer, call her and inform her about the accident. For all you know, your employee visited a lawyer’s website, such as, on route to the hospital

While your insurance company will likely settle the matter with its own lawyers, there is always the possibility of a lawsuit. Giving your lawyer some forewarning can help her prepare for a potential lawsuit.

Fix the Problem

If a hole in policy or procedure caused the injury, take steps. Update the policy or retrain on the new procedure.

It doesn’t resolve the current injury, but it will help prevent similar injuries in the future.

Parting Thoughts on What to Do if Your Employee Gets Injured at Work

Sometimes, employees get injured at work. You can’t avoid it, but you can avoid making it worse.

Develop a plan for what your other employees should do after an injury, including filling out an accident/injury report. Render whatever medical aid seems prudent. Then, send the employee for professional medical care.

Inform your insurance company and lawyer of the incident. It gives the insurance company an opportunity to resolve the situation quickly. It gives your lawyer some mental lead time if it turns into an ugly lawsuit.

Looking for ways to avoid workplace injuries in the first place? Check out our post on workplace injury prevention tips.