Tedious workplace tasks can lull you into a false sense of security in a fast-paced environment where hazards loom around every turning forklift, churning machine press and oily floor. Safety protocols and standards have improved over the years, but they are not foolproof.
Workplaces remain inherently dangerous. Private industry employers reported 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It was the first time in six years cases did not decline. Whenever an employee suffers an injury, the clock starts ticking on their workers’ compensation coverage. It is vitally important to chronicle every incident, no matter how minor or serious, as soon as it happens.
What to do if you are hurt on the job
New York state requires workers seeking compensation to notify their employers in writing within 30 days of their injury, but you should not wait that long. Report the injury immediately to your supervisor so you can receive proper medical treatment and discredit questions about whether you were hurt off the job. Tell a co-worker to help establish a timeline and recruit witnesses.
Other key steps to take after reporting an incident:
- Seek medical attention to prevent the injury from worsening or becoming infected. Make sure the state Workers’ Compensation Board has authorized your health care provider.
- Make the employer aware of any dangerous conditions that might hurt someone else so they can put up warning signs or shut down equipment.
- If you miss time on the job, complete a workers’ compensation claim with the Board within two years from the date of the injury or disablement from an occupational disease. Failure could risk losing your right to benefits.
- Follow your doctor’s instructions for recovery and complete any requested independent medical examinations.
- Attend hearings involving your case.
- Return to work as soon as possible.
You should never be afraid to report your injury. Employers must carry enough insurance to compensate employees injured on the job or in the workplace. The law also bars companies from firing or discriminating against an employee who has filed a workers’ compensation claim. The state has the authority to reinstate any worker whom an employer improperly fired.
Protect your rights and lifestyle
It can be devastating to you and your family to suffer a workplace injury. You deserve compensation and care to help you recover and hopefully return to work.
A job supports an active life that can help you heal faster. It also provides friendships on and off the job. Tailgating at Bills games will never be the same without you in the parking lot sharing a cold one and tossing the ball around with your best buds. When it comes to workers’ comp benefits, make sure you are playing on a level playing field.