In recent years, there has been a real push towards improving health and safety in the workplace – calling attention to years of negligence from employers that resulted in a range of injuries, accidents and illnesses. Despite this, 340 million workplace accidents occur in the US each year.
As such, it’s important that you know how to proceed should you find yourself the victim of a workplace accident.
- Seek medical attention right away.
While this may seem obvious, the first thing you should do in the aftermath of a workplace accident is seek out medical attention. While there should be a first-aider present within your workplace, do not hesitate to reach out to emergency services if necessary. After all, this will ensure that you receive access to crucial support as soon as possible, reducing any complications you may face as a result. Don’t try to downplay any symptoms or pains due to the fact that you don’t want to cause problems – as ignoring a troubling symptom will not make it go away, and could in fact allow the issue to escalate.
- Complete an incident report.
Any time an accident occurs on-site, an incident report must be completed. Companies will use these reports to their advantage should a lawsuit arise, especially if it implies the injured party is at fault (i.e., the accident was due to negligence etc.). Completing this form yourself and as soon as possible means that you can gather the relevant evidence to back up your claims, and this will come in handy when taking legal action and protecting your own best interests. Incident and accident reports can also be used to implement meaningful change into pre-existing health and safety policies, ensuring that the same accident does not happen twice. This means it can provide you with a way to protect your teammates and yourself should you return to the same working environment in the future.
- Take legal action.
If the accident is not your fault (as discussed above), it’s important that you take legal action. After all, you deserve compensation not only for the impact the injury may have on your life, but also the rising healthcare costs you will have to deal with as a result of your injury. For example, you may have to pay for a range of medical or surgical bills, prescription medication, ambulance fees and more. As such, you should work with a lawyer who has handled similar cases before – whether your accident be due to mismanagement or an Equipment malfunction. Your lawyer will then help you navigate your way through the legal process, by compiling evidence in your favor, submitting a claim and representing you elsewhere when necessary. In short, they’ll make it easier for you to receive the financial compensation you deserve.
- Give yourself time to recover.
Following an accident, it’s important that you give yourself plenty of time to recover before returning to your normal routine. This is because trying to speed up your recovery only puts you at risk of further complications. For example, from a medical perspective, “continuing to use the injured body part may aggravate an acute injury and turn it into a chronic one, making it more likely to recur and more difficult to treat.” As such, you should listen to your doctor’s orders and get plenty of rest, ensuring that your well-being is a priority.
Of course, this can be frustrating, especially if you’ve got a busy schedule and don’t have the ‘time’ to recover. But, it’s better to get the rest now than to prolong your need for it, and you won’t be able to carry out your daily duties if you are in pain.
- Don’t neglect your emotions.
When recovering from an injury, it’s easy to focus on your physical recovery, especially if you have been in a lot of pain. However, you must not neglect your mental wellbeing during this time, either – especially when you consider that accidents can also cause your mental health to decline. For example, a physical injury may cause you to be house-bound, resulting in isolation and feelings of loneliness and anxiety. Alternatively, you may be feeling more stressed than usual, especially about the idea of returning to work once again. Either way, in order to improve your wellbeing and feel great after an accident, treat yourself with grace and kindness and understand that it’s okay to feel a little overwhelmed. Talk openly with friends, colleagues, family members of professionals to work through your emotions and find a healthy way to move forward.