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Sunday, December 21, 2014

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Employer Safety

Safety: A Key Feature of Your Business:

Attention to safety not only helps protect a business’s most valuable resource, its people, it also helps prevent both personal and financial loss.

As an employer, you are responsible for providing a safe and healthy work environment for your workers. You can control what happens before a work injury occurs. A potential injury caught early may avoid a workers’ compensation claim altogether. You can lower the chance of a work injury occurring if you make safety a part of your work culture, and many tools are available for you to help bring this about. Conduct regular walk-throughs to look at workplace conditions. Visit with workers for their ideas on how to make the job safer. Look out for potential hazards at your workplace. Some examples of hazards are:

  • Toxic substances - solvents, metals, dusts.
  • Physical - walkways, temperature, noise, tools, motor vehicle accidents.
  • Ergonomic - poor job design increases the risk of musculoskeletal diseases.
  • Biological - bloodborne pathogens.

Management’s Commitment to Safety:

It is essential for a business’s entire management team to commit itself fully to developing and maintaining a safe working environment throughout the organization.

Communicate Safety to Your Workers:

An ongoing commitment to training is part of a safe work environment. A written safety program helps you keep the effort going and provides documentation of the company’s efforts.

  • Make sure new workers are thoroughly oriented to the workplace and shown how to do their jobs safely. This includes seasonal or temporary workers or those leased from an employment agency.
  • Be sure to train your managers and supervisors on recognizing and controlling hazards and monitoring safety procedures and work habits.
  • Review safety procedures with all workers at least annually.

Provide Medical Care Instructions to Your Workers:

Employers should post - in a conspicuous place - the Important Notice to Employees poster from WSI giving workers information on what to do if they are injured on the job and the types of benefits available.

A designated medical provider(s) (DMP) can be selected to care for your workers if they become injured on the job. If you chose a DMP, you must have written documentation verifying that all workers have been notified of the DMP selection and also that workers have the option to add additional providers to the employer's selection. It is recommended that you display notice of the DMP in a conspicuous area in the workplace to further inform workers of the identity of the DMP. Injured workers are required to see your company’s DMP for medical care UNLESS they have previously informed you, in writing, of a different medical provider selection before any injury occurred. If an injured worker sees your company’s DMP, the worker may request to change providers after being treated for 60 days by the DMP. Please note that if a worker chooses their own doctor (and informs you appropriately), the injured worker will always have the option of seeing your company’s DMP.

At the time of hire, and again when an injury occurs, you should provide the worker with basic information on workers’ compensation coverage and benefits.

Develop Guidelines for Investigating Workplace Injuries:

Use each injury case as an opportunity to take a closer look at your workplace. Conduct an investigation immediately while the information is fresh in people’s minds - then take the necessary corrective action to prevent the injury from happening again.

A person who is in a responsible position in your company should be in charge of investigating the incident that led to your worker’s injury. If your company does not have a policy for injury reporting or guidelines for investigating workplace injuries, call our Loss Prevention Education Unit and we’ll help you develop them.

Your written accident investigation report should include the following elements:

  • Inspection of the accident site.
  • Reasons why the incident happened.
  • The circumstances surrounding the incident.
  • Securing evidence / taking photographs.
  • Interviewing all witnesses and others in the accident area and writing down their statements. Interviews should be conducted in a sensitive manner at a comfortable location.
  • An outline of the necessary corrective action that will be taken to prevent the injury from happening again.

If the investigation suggests that your worker’s injury is not your responsibility or seems questionable in nature, write your comments in the employer section of the First Report of Injury marked "if you question this claim, state reason, or attach additional information". You may also use a separate sheet, if necessary. If the FROI has already been submitted to WSI, please call us with your concerns.

Review Your Company’s Past Injuries:

You may request a loss run report from us that lists all claims and medical costs paid on your account. Analyzing your company’s work injuries helps you identify those areas that may be in need of improvement - and that can help you avoid future losses. To request a loss run report, email ndwsi@nd.gov.

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