Someone got hurt on the job...now what? The policies and procedures for workplace injuries vary slightly across the United States, and depend on whether or not the employer has worker's compensation insurance coverage. In this post, we will be taking a closer look at what Texans need to do when injury occurs in their workplace.
Well, first things first, as soon as you see or hear that a worker has been injured, assess the injury and provide any first aid necessary, including a call to 9-1-1 if appropriate. Please note that if it is necessary to transport the injured worker to a hospital or other emergency facility, all costs associated with transportation (taxi fare or ambulance fees) will be covered by the employer, and the worker will be paid for the full day during which the injury or illness occurred. Once the worker is in good care, you can begin the next step.
Do I need to report this incident or injury?
Employer's in Texas are not required to purchase worker's compensation insurance, and therefore, the procedure for reporting an injury will vary accordingly.
If you have coverage for your workers, the process is relatively simple:
- File the Employer's First Report of Injury or Illness (DWC Form-001) with your insurance carrier within eight (8) days from the date your employee is unable to work for more than one day due to the injury or immediately if the injury is an occupational disease or death.
- Provide a copy of the completed DWC Form-001 and Employee's Rights and Responsibilities to your employee at the time the DWC Form-001 is filed.
- Check with your insurance carrier to see what methods of reporting they have available to you.
If you have chosen not to provide workers compensation insurance for your employees, there are a few more things to be conscious of. You'll need to file the following injuries or illnesses using form DWC Form-007, Non-covered Employer's Report of Occupational Injury or Illness by the seventh day of the following month:
- work-related injury resulting in the employee's absence from work for more than one day;
- occupational disease of which you have knowledge; and
- work-related fatality;
and not later than the seventh day of the month following the month when:
- death occurred;
- the employee was absent from work for more than one day as a result of the on-the-job-injury; or
- or the employer acquired knowledge of the occupational disease.
In some cases, workers compensation insurance may not cover your employees injury or illness. If the injury or illness results from one or more of the following, your claim will be denied:
- your employee was injured while in a state of intoxication;
- the injury was caused by the employee's willful attempt to injure himself or unlawfully injure another person;
- a person that is not your employee injures your employee for a personal reason and not directed at the employee as an employee or because of employment;
- your employee was injured while participating in a voluntary off-duty recreation, social, or athletic activity that was not part of the employee's duties unless the activity is a reasonable expectancy of or is expressly or implicitly required by the employment;
- the injury arose out of an act of God unless the employment exposes the employee to a greater risk of injury from an act of God than ordinarily applies to the general public; or
- horseplay was a producing cause of the injury.
It is important to note that not all workplace injuries need to be recorded under OSHA requirements, and that some industries are exempt from OSHA record keeping altogether. You can find more information about those requirements by reaching out to OSHCON.
Create a Return-to-Work Program (if applicable)
There is no obligation for employers in Texas to provide employment to a worker after they have been injured, however, it is greatly encouraged. By helping a worker return to work as soon as it is medically safe for them to be there is beneficial to your business in many ways:
- Reduce costs. Returning an injured employee to work can reduce business costs (overtime, temporary workers) and workers' compensation costs (increased premiums, income benefits, medical benefits).
- Reduce employee turnover. Returning an injured employee to work can reduce employee turnover and costs related to replacing an employee. The cost to replace an employee can be up to 1.5 times their annual salary. In addition, it can take a new employee more than 13 months to become efficient at their job.
- Maintain productivity. Returning your experienced and skilled injured employee to work will prevent your business from losing a valuable resource. Although they may not be able to do their regular job right away, the goal of early return to work is to get that employee back to work sooner, and eventually back to their regular job.
- Increase employee morale. By returning your injured employee to work, the employee and their co-workers will know that your business sees them as a valuable resource, which will make them want to return to their regular job as soon as medically possible after a work-related injury.
If your company only employs between 2-50 employees, you may also qualify for the Return-to-Work Reimbursement Program. This DWC service reimburses eligible employers for any special equipment, furniture or modifications to the workplace that allows an injured worker to return to work (up to $5,000).
Remember, getting a worker back to work is a team effort, and support starts at the top. When management is committed to building a strong return to work program, everyone can benefit from a stronger organization.