A workplace injury is no trivial matter.
It can be highly overwhelming to decide the best course of action to give your injured employee the support they need and avoid legal action for your company.
I’ve dealt with many legal suits involving workplace injury, and as such, I understand a clear plan of action that can help your employee and company move forward safely.
Like most business owners, you probably want to avoid trouble and offer the best support possible. Without further ado, here’s my essential guide.
Ways to Support Employees After a Workplace Injury
Empathy and compassion are the most honorable avenues for dealing with workplace injuries.
As such, they’re the first steps on this list. The rest will follow them.
Be Empathetic to a Workplace Injury
It’s of primary importance to consider the injured employee’s feelings.
Workplace accidents are inconvenient at best and traumatic at worst. You can ease your employee’s difficulty through this time by demonstrating that you understand the severity of the situation.
Showing empathy can help ease their fear and anxiety about the situation, so showing respect for their feelings is vital. The first step to empathy is consciously putting yourself in their shoes.
A clear, actionable way to provide empathy is by regularly checking up on your employee. Not to ask when they’ll return to work, but simply as you’d check up on a friend or family member. If they’re in the hospital, pay them a visit.
Here are some main compassionate considerations to take:
- How are they feeling?
- Do they need assistance of any kind?
- Is there anything you can do to cheer them up, like a home-cooked meal or an exciting book to read while bedridden?
Be Compassionate to a Workplace Injury
Compassion is directly related to empathy.
Demonstrate compassion by prioritizing their health for the sake of being healthy, not for the sake of them returning to work as soon as possible.
Show support by expressing the unfortunate circumstances, sending well-wishes, and encouraging them to take the time and steps needed for a full recovery.
Furthermore, if the accident was preventable, do not hesitate to apologize. A simple “I’m sorry this happened to you” is not dangerous or incriminating. Instead, it’s the decent thing to do as an employer.
If applicable, consider hiring a temporary worker during the transition period. They can take on the injured’s employee duties as they return to work. That way, your injured employee can likely avoid feelings of guilt or stress about the company functioning without them.
Provide the Right Resources After a Workplace Injury
To start progressing the recovery process, you can ensure that the right resources are in place for your injured employee.
Once they’re medically cleared, you can develop a plan for returning to work collaboratively. This plan includes having an appropriate workspace and necessary tools or equipment ready before their return.
It’s also important to be mindful of any new limitations or physical restrictions that may impact their performance and productivity. With this in mind, you can adjust their workplace environment and responsibilities accordingly.
Research helpful organizations geared towards people who experience workplace accidents, like an injury resource center. These organizations can help affected employees integrate their injury into their life and continue living as fully as possible in the wake of it.
Give the Employee Time Off After a Workplace Injury
One of the most meaningful ways to support employees after a workplace injury is by giving them time off.
You can offer time off as modified hours or days, where they may clock in for a few hours and leave when necessary. Or, if the injury is severe, encourage them to take more extended periods off with the expectation of returning.
Time off is essential for recovery and promotes physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Encourage your employees to take the necessary time to heal without feeling guilty.
Provide Reassurance to Other Employees After a Workplace Injury
After an employee experiences a workplace accident, it can be difficult for coworkers to move forward or feel safe.
To help the entire team with this transition, provide reassurance that no one is at fault and stress the importance of coming together as a unit. Remind the group that all parties involved are taking necessary measures to ensure the injured employee’s safety, well-being, and healing.
Alternatively, if the accident resulted from negligence or could have been easily prevented, be transparent about the steps your company is taking to ensure nothing of the sort happens again.
Make Your Leadership Team Available for Questions After an Injury
To further avoid confusion and instability among your other employees, having a reliable leadership team on hand is vital.
Consider providing an open-door policy for employees needing assistance or advice after a workplace incident. Additionally, offer resources such as:
- Educational seminars
- Training courses
These resources can be helpful ways to educate and inform them about the accident and its preventive measures.
How to Prevent Workplace Injury
One of the best ways to guarantee a safe and supportive workplace for your employees is by having secure protocols to avoid workplace injury.
With these steps, you can achieve minimal cases of workplace injury and the trouble of workers’ compensation. Furthermore, your employees will likely be more engaged and trusting within the workplace, knowing that their company’s administration has their well-being in mind.
Step 1: Create a Written Protocol
Explicitly prioritize your employees’ well-being by creating a written safety guide.
Along with the written protocol, managers and other leadership staff should reference it and require employees to become well-acquainted with it.
Follow up with your employees to ensure they’ve read and understood the protocol.
Step 2: Continue to Educate Employees on Workplace Safety
Safety training should be a requirement in any workplace involving physical labor or machinery. This training should occur at the beginning of any employee’s company employment.
I also recommend hiring leadership members with an educational background in safety protocol to help you conduct training and write regulations effectively.
Step 3: Have Posted Signs Around the Workplace
It never hurts to keep safety reminders around the workplace.
These signs can be genuinely helpful and keep a distracted employee from making a grave mistake.
As such, invest in signs to display around the workplace as gentle reminders to remember the safety protocols.
Step 4: Ensure Your Workplace is Up to Code
It’s crucial to take extra precautions by ensuring your workplace complies with all OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) standards.
To do this, you can hire a safety consultant or inspector to perform routine check-ups. This way, your company will be informed of any potential hazards and how they should be addressed before an incident happens.
Step 5: If You See a Potential Workplace Hazard, Say Something
It’s important to be proactive about safety and speak up when you see any potential risks.
If you or an employee notice suspicious activity, immediately report it to the proper authority to keep everyone safe.
Review this list of common workplace health hazards to know what’s a genuine threat.
Hopefully, this guide gave you peace regarding gracefully handling workplace injuries.
By taking the steps outlined above and adhering to these essential guidelines, you can offer your injured employee and team quality support in this time of crisis.
Supporting employees through this challenging time demonstrates your genuine concern for their health and safety. It also shows them you appreciate their hard work and dedication to the company.
By prioritizing workplace safety, you can even improve the culture of job satisfaction at your workplace.
If you have any further questions or think I missed something essential, please leave a comment below.
Good luck, and until next time.