What to Do When an Employee Is Injured at Work

Injured Worker

If the worst happens, and an employee suffers a serious injury on the job, your first step is to render medical aid and secure the area. Next step? Evaluate whether you need to report the incident to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Employers must report workplace-related fatalities within eight hours and serious injuries within 24 hours, depending on the nature of the injury.

After a Worksite Injury – OSHA Reporting Requirements

OSHA regulations mandate that all employers notify OSHA when an employee becomes seriously injured on the job or risk a serious violation if they fail to abide by the reporting requirements. An employer must report a fatality within eight hours and report an in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or eye loss within 24 hours.

What qualifies as in-patient hospitalization? OSHA defines in-patient hospitalization as “a formal admission to the in-patient service of a hospital or clinic for care or treatment.” Thus, not all trips to the hospital trigger the reporting requirement.

Employers do not have to report minor injuries treated by first aid, outpatient treatment, or treatment in an emergency room only (when the patient is not admitted). Additionally, employers do not have to report hospitalizations that occur more than 24 hours after the work-related incident, such as scheduled surgeries.

You Need to Report the Accident to OSHA – But What Do You Report?

Serious workplace injuries or fatalities can be reported to the nearest OSHA office via phone, or you can report online. This is when you need the help of an attorney so that the right information is communicated to OSHA in the best manner possible.

OSHA will need to know the business name, names of employees affected, the location and time of the accident, a brief description of the incident, and a contact person and phone number. An attorney can guide you on supplying the correct information without unnecessarily or inadvertently exposing yourself to liability.

Let us help you during the most crucial post-accident moments – call us at (713) 909-7323 or contact us online to get started today.

Depending on the facts of your case and what you communicate to OSHA in your initial report, OSHA may conduct either a full-blown, onsite inspection or a rapid response investigation (“RRI”), which generally does not involve an onsite inspection of the workplace. Instead, the employer is expected to conduct its own investigation into the work-related incident and share its findings with OSHA.

If the RRI is handled correctly, OSHA may decide to close its file without conducting an onsite inspection and without issuing a citation. If OSHA does not receive an adequate response, it may escalate the matter to an onsite inspection. Knowing how to navigate this process is critical. Our OSHA attorneys, Trey Hendershot andIan McNeill, can guide you.

Form 300 Requirements After a Work-Related Accident

Employers with more than 10 employees must also record serious injuries, illnesses, or deaths on OSHA’s Form 300 Log. Complete the log with the help of your attorney and have it ready to hand over before an inspection. It is one of the first records an OSHA inspector will ask to see.

If your Form 300 is not complete and up to date, the inspector will make a document request, giving you four hours to comply. Missing that deadline is a citable offense.

When Do I Contact an OSHA Attorney?

Contact an attorney as soon as possible after the injury takes place. OSHA will typically decide whether to conduct an RRI or inspection within one day of receiving your report of an on-the-job injury, making the first 24 hours critical to your business.

Your attorney can guide you through the reporting process and, if the incident does result in an inspection, be present during the inspection and any management interviews. Don’t be coaxed into speaking to an inspector who “just has a few questions…” Your attorney can be onsite to help direct your responses, manage document requests, and lay the groundwork for your defense.

Don’t Wait Until After an OSHA Citation Is Issued to Seek Legal Counsel

Workplace accidents not only lead to OSHA investigations and potential fines; they can also lead to personal injury claims, insurance coverage issues, attract media attention, cause reputational damage, and more. Consulting an experienced OSHA attorney is an important step toward protecting your rights and helping you manage the aftermath of the accident.

At Hendershot Cowart P.C., we can help you report the incident and prepare you for what to expect should a reported injury lead to an OSHA inspection. With our help, your business will have a more controlled and carefully managed response to the situation at hand, while we ensure compliance with all state and federal laws. Don’t wait until after a citation is issued to seek legal counsel.

OSHA investigators, insurance carriers, civil litigators – they all have experience dealing with workplace accidents. You may not. At Hendershot Cowart P.C., our OSHA defense team has decades of experience defending employers against enforcement actions and providing the proactive counsel employers need to prevent citations in the first place. If you wish to speak with an attorney about your available options and how our firm can help, call us at (713) 909-7323 or contact us online.

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