Work is something that forms a key part of life for us all. Whether you are a financial advisor, a construction worker or a baker, what we do in our careers is crucial. This is not only in a financial sense but also in a personal one. What we do for work often defines our identity and also helps us socialize with other people each day. But what happens if your working world is shattered by an unforeseen injury?
Figures from 2018 show that there were 2.8 million non-fatal workplace accidents in the USA during that period. This clearly shows just how common it can be and how easily it can happen to anyone. But what should you do if you get injured when at work?
Get medical help from a first-aider
The very first thing you should do after any workplace injury is get medical help. Workplaces should have a dedicated first-aider now and they are the best people to go to in the first place. After this, anything more serious than a simple cut or twisted ankle should certainly be checked out by a medical professional. Naturally, any head injuries or broken bones should be given the once over at your local emergency room.
If an ambulance is needed, the dedicated first-aider you work with will be able to call for one and help make you comfortable before proper medical assistance can arrive. If it is not very serious but you still need your injury checking out, try to get a lift to the local emergency room with a colleague or phone a friend to help if you work alone.
Check your worker’s compensation insurance details
You may not have heard of workers compensation insurance before, but it can be very handy when you get injured at work. Next Insurance offer this cover and it is something that many U.S. states ask employers to hold if they have more than 5 people working for them. Even if your employer does not legally need it, many will take it out anyway to help protect staff.
With this in mind, it is worth checking with your manager if such a compensation cover scheme is something they have. But what use is it after a workplace injury? In simple terms, it can go towards paying for medical bills, emergency treatment and lost wages due to being off. It goes without saying that all this is very handy if you cannot work after an injury. Whether your employer has this scheme or not, filing a workers compensation claim to your them is a key step to take. This may enable you to some form of compensation while off work as a result of the injury – either through a worker’s compensation scheme or direct from the employer. Remember to document what happened and collect any evidence if you can as this could be crucial in any claim.
Take time off to recover and do not rush it
If the injury demands it, you should definitely take time off to rest and recover. This will help your body and the injury itself to heal. It is also key to not rush back after any injury you suffer at work. You must listen to your body and any medical advice you get in order to let it get better. This will take different lengths of time, depending on what accident you had. The recovery from a broken leg for example will take longer to heal than a pulled muscle or a bruised collarbone. Do not feel under pressure to rush back before you are ready as this will usually see you aggravate the injury and be off work again.
Think about a phased return
When you are ready to get back into work, talk to your boss about a phased return if you think it is needed. This can often be useful if you have been off a long time and need to get back into the swing of things gently. It can also be handy if you have a physical job that will place stress on the injury you have just recovered from. By building up to a full working day or week at first, you will give your body the time to adapt to these stresses again. Rushing back into a full-time, demanding role on the other hand could just set you back weeks. All decent employers will let you do this now if you ask nicely, so do not be afraid to try!
Be extra vigilant when back fully
Although some injuries can be caused by sheer bad luck or bad timing, many are avoidable. When you are back in work after an injury, make sure to be extra aware of what is going on around you. Something as simple as this can often keeps you out of harm’s way! Keep an eye out for moving vehicles or machinery along with any slippery surfaces or dangerous tools. You could also consider using your experience of being injured at work to help others. All workplaces now will need someone to ensure they conform to Health & Safety standards to minimize the risk of injury to staff. By volunteering for this role, you could help to stop people from getting injured as you did.
Injuries at work can befall anyone
While you might feel invincible, the truth is that workplace injuries can happen to us all. One lapse of focus or one piece of bad luck can see you struck down before you know it. If this does happen to you, why not take the above advice on-board? It will help you to deal with the injury properly after it happens and also ensure you return to work in a sensible way. Taking the time to document your injury, collect any evidence and submit a claim for workers compensation will also ensure you do not lose out financially from any accident at work.