Filling out documents, providing notification to employers and insurance companies and making a doctor’s appointment are important procedures after a worker suffers an injury at work. In addition to meeting workers’ compensation requirements, however, it important that injured workers stop working and seek immediate treatment.
Failure to quickly treat injuries and work is harmful. If care is not provided within 48 hours, an apparently minor or innocent injury can worsen. A one-day treatment delay can increase the risk of a recordable outcome by 60 percent.
But many workers will continue to work through a minor strain or sprain and hope that it will heal by itself. Unfortunately, a delayed injury report impedes recovery, increases the severity of a minor injury, and may become a serious and expensive problem.
For employers, delays with injury reports can increase their workers’ compensation claims up to 50 percent and lead to lost time and OSHA recordables. Employers may also lose productivity, must train a replacement worker, pay overtime for other employees to make up the absent worker and incur other indirect costs.
Employees should report their injuries to their employer as soon as possible. Many times, an injury reported immediately can be treated at the first-aid level. This can lower the time spent away from work.
In a simple strain injury, for example, immediate first aid measures helps a worker begin healing and allows a quick return to work. But the employee’s injury may worsen if prompt treatment is not provided. This often leads to more testing and medical appointments, work releases, specialty referrals and lost work time.
The workers’ compensation process may be complicated. An attorney can help injured workers obtain the care they need and pursue their rights to compensation.