Injured at work?
Well, guess what — you’re not the only one!
According to a report by the National Security Council (NSC), every year, about 7 million people are hurt at their workplace. It also states that on average, approximately 21 days’ worth of time is lost per worker when they take to bed due to an illness or disability caused during their normal course of work. This suggests that while some employees may not need more than a day of rest, some might require a significantly longer period to recuperate.
However, going by these statistics, it is evident that workplace injuries are more common in the US than we would care to admit.
So the question arises of whether you can report an unsafe work environment and if yes, then how.
Let’s find out.
Reporting An Unsafe Work Environment
First and foremost, it is essential for you to understand what constitutes high-risk conditions. In simple terms, it can be described as a setting that hampers the effective working of personnel. Some instances which can be categorized as such include the following:
- Having to perform day-to-day tasks without any protective gear like helmet, gloves, or goggles
- Forced to work near open electric circuits and wires
- Being exposed to dangerous chemicals and materials
- Required to continue working on a broken machine because the employer refuses to get it fixed
- Not receiving the necessary training needed to safely operate an equipment
- Pressured to work in bad weather that makes carrying out important tasks difficult (like working on a construction site in heavy rain)
If you have these or similar concerns that you are facing at your facility, it is essential that you alert the proper authorities at the earliest in order to safeguard yourself against the same.
How to Report?
Once you’ve decided to bring in the government officials to your aide, knowing who to inform and how becomes the most pressing question.
OSHA or Occupational Safety and Health Act dictates the rules for running a safe working environment and lists the penalties for cases where it is overlooked. As a result, the OSH Administration is the department responsible for carrying out inspections at your establishments.
All you need to do is let OSHA know the prevalent conditions at your workplace. Their contact information differs from state to state so that the regional office of the same gets the information directly. But in case you are unable to find out those digits, you can call the toll-free number 1-800-321-6742 to talk to a representative.
Additionally, you can also request the authorities to keep your name and details confidential in case you’re worried that you’ll be ill-treated by the employer or lose your job in case they find out the name of the complainant.
Steps To Take Post A Work-related Injury
Regardless of whether your facility was reported unsafe at a prior date or not — if an accident has occurred, there are steps that ought to be taken to ensure that you not only receive appropriate medical counsel but are also assisted in paying for it. These 3 simple actions are as discussed below.
File an Accident Report before Leaving Premises
It is very important that you file a report about the accident that has taken place, preferably the same day, before leaving the premises. This would help establish that the injury was indeed work-related and wasn’t received elsewhere.
Many states in the country have very limited deadlines for this task, which makes it essential for you to notify authorities of not just the accident you were injured in, but any such incident at all. On one hand, this safeguards you by ensuring that you would be compensated even if the symptoms start occurring weeks or months down the line. And on the other hand, your employer is alerted of the problem which may encourage them to take any steps necessary to prevent it in the future.
Consult a Doctor
Be it a doctor of your choice or one appointed by your company, make sure you meet up with one as soon as possible to rule out any serious damages. You can also seek a second opinion if you find the diagnosis and treatment to be unsatisfactory.
Consult an Attorney
If your injuries are extensive and you find your employer hesitant in paying up, you can consult a personal injury attorney who has experience with these kinds of cases. They would be able to guide you at every step to ensure you are indemnified appropriately.
Proving An Injury Work-related
There is a definite chance of you facing opposition where you would be required to prove that your injuries are indeed work-related. Thus to be on the safer side, ensure that you have:
- Pictures of your injury
- Pictures of the scene of the accident
- Statements by witnesses
- Time logs that prove you were on-call at that particular time
- Doctor’s diagnosis and reports
Accidents can occur at any time, anywhere, but when at work, it becomes your employer’s responsibility to make certain that you’re safe and healthy and not suffering any impairments or illnesses due to the job you do there. In case that is not being looked after, it is both your duty and right to demand the same.