What To Do if a Worker is Injured

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What to do if a Worker is Injured

Do you know what to do if a member of your staff is injured at work?

Employers have specific responsibilities for managing work-related injuries. These range from completing the appropriate forms to communicating with claim managers if the worker needs to collect workers' compensation.

If the process isn't managed smoothly both the company and the worker suffer consequences that could easily be avoided with a bit of preparation.

This module is designed to help you prepare to deal effectively with a work-related injury. The module also serves as a guide in case, despite your best efforts, a worker is injured.


At a Glance

Here are the basic steps you need to take if a worker is injured. Follow the links for each time period to get a more detailed step-by-step checklist

Day 1

(Click here for a step-by-step checklist)

  • Provide first aid if it’s needed. Call 911 for serious injuries. Get the worker to the nearest medical facility.
  • Report serious incidents right away. Serious incidents include fatalities, serious injuries, major damage to buildings, and major releases of hazardous substances. If you’re not sure it’s serious, report it anyway.
  • Investigate the incident to learn from the unexpected. Find out what went wrong and what you need to do to prevent it from happening again.

Days 1–3

(Click here for a step-by-step checklist)

  • Report the incident. If the injury isn't serious you have up to three days to report it to your workers' compensation system. If you find out about the injury after the three-day window, report it as soon as you can.
  • Start a workers’ compensation claim. Fill out and send the appropriate form for reporting injury and occupational disease. Be sure to mention whether you can provide light duty or modified work during the recovery.
  • Talk with the worker’s doctor. If it looks like the worker will have to take time off, let the doctor know if you can provide work that is safe for them while they recover.

Week 1

  • Make sure you submit the rest of the required forms. These may include the injured worker’s report of the injury or disease, and the first aid report if first aid was provided.


  • Make sure it doesn’t happen again. Use hazard controls to make needed changes to the work or the work environment. Involve the worker who was injured and others in making the changes.


Promoting Safe and Timely Return to Work

"You don't get people healthy to bring them back to work. You bring them back to work to get them healthy." (Unknown)

Studies show that injured workers who return to productive work as soon as possible heal faster and better than those who don't. Their work becomes part of the recovery and allows them to take an active role in that process, and it's healthier than being at home and isolated from their work.

Prepare in advance

Stay in touch

  • Don’t let them start feeling isolated and depressed. Update them on what is happening at work and let them know they are missed
  • Assure them that you will do what you can to make room for any physical limitations they may have when they first come back
  • Let them know you will work with the doctor to make sure the work is safe for them
  • Make sure the work they do while recovering is meaningful and productive
  • Create positive expectations: Talk about when they are healthy and back at work, not if
  • Get everyone involved. Make sure other workers understand what’s going on and support your effort to help their co-worker
  • Ask about any other needs the worker may have, like transport to and from work or medical appointments
  • Contact them at least every 2–3 days. Listen to their needs and concerns
  • Encourage them to make suggestions for safe modified work

Showing this kind of consideration will help keep up morale among the whole team.


What if You Can't Provide Alternative Work?

There is help! Your regional workers’ compensation office may be able to help with financial support for:

  • a graduated return to work
  • refresher training or skill upgrading
  • a work trial in a new job and assessment of the trial
  • modifications to the worksite or equipment
  • modified job duties
  • on-the-job training
  • formal training for a new and different job
  • vocational rehabilitation

!!! NOTE: It is illegal to pay an injured worker to stay home !!!


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