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Was an employee injured today? Take these actions immediately
Take an active role in injury case management
Will you be ready to act when an employee is seriously injured? "Active participation in emergency drills and in the safety committee is essential," says Christine Zichello, RN, COHN-S, CSHM, ARM, FAAOHN, a senior risk control specialist for PMA Companies in Mt. Laurel, NJ.
But what if you are prepared, and just want to be certain that everyone in your workplace knows it? Here are some strategies to make your role in responding to an employee injury clear:
Know the number of Occupational Safety and Health Administration-recordable cases, restricted duty days and lost duty days.
"Some companies attach bonuses and employee performance goals to these metrics," says Donna C. Ferreira, ANP, MS, COHN-S, senior regional manager at Comprehensive Health Services, a Reston, VA-based provider of workforce health and productivity management solutions. "Be an active part of work-related injury case management."
Define specific roles and responsibilities.
"There should be protocols as to who is in charge and responsible, in the event there is an emergency," says Zichello. "Be highly visible in all specifics of safety. Take the lead as an active member of the safety committee, or in a consultative role."
If an employee was injured and you participated in the response, document this and offer suggestions for improvement.
"Forward this to both your supervisor and the chair of the safety committee," says Zichello.
If conflict arises, find common ground.
"Conflicts can be more easily resolved by focusing on the processes, not the personalities," says Ferreira. "Stating 'We both agree we want a healthy and productive employee working in a safe and healthy work environment,' is a stepping stone toward resolution."
Communicate with both employer and employees.
Your goal here is twofold, says Ferreira: To convey concern for the health and well-being of the employee, while also conveying to management your desire to keep employees at work and productive.
When debriefing responders after an employee is seriously injured, says Zichello, "the positive aspects of the incident should be reviewed, along with areas for improvement. If the injury was serious, there may be a need for debriefing of the staff."
You may decide to take the lead in the debriefing process, but if the team has been through a particularly difficult situation, it may be appropriate to have them meet with an Employee Assistance Program counselor, says Zichello. After the debriefing is completed, Zichello says to ask yourself these questions:
What was the participation level of the group?
Is there any follow-up to be done?
What are employees going to do to take care of themselves in the next 24 hours?
Take the opportunity to review safety requirements.
"This may be an ideal time for staff education on safety measures, follow-up drills and review of current safety policy and procedures," says Zichello.
For more information about steps to take when an employee is injured, contact:
Donna Ferreira, Senior Regional Manager, Comprehensive Health Services, Reston, VA. Phone: (978) 425-5151. Fax: (978) 425-5152. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Christine Zichello, RN, COHN-S, CSHM, ARM, FAAOHN, Senior Risk Control Specialist, PMA Companies, Mt. Laurel, NJ. Phone: (610) 304-3298. Fax: (973) 492-2823. E-mail: Christine_Zichello@pmagroup.com.