Workplace injuries are injuries that occur during the course of employment. They can occur at a workplace or at worksite if job-related tasks are performed at remote locations. Workplace injuries are very commonplace in this day and age. Indeed, a worker is injured on the job in the United States every seven seconds. A fact about workplace injuries is that nearly all of them are avoidable.
Steps to Take After a Workplace Injury
Directly after a workplace injury, you need to verbally notify your immediate supervisor of the incident. Pursuant to worker’s compensation laws and regulations in California and across the country, an employer is to maintain a formal reporting system. This system is to include a report of injury form that is to be completed by an injured worker. Bear in mind that the form must be completed and submitted to the appropriate person at a business by a specific deadline. Issues can arise if a formal report of injury form isn’t completed and submitted in a timely manner.
There will be other deadlines along the way as a worker’s compensation case proceeds. Indeed, the worker’s compensation claims process is complicated. As a result, you likely would be best served by engaging the services of a skilled, experienced worker’s compensation lawyer.
In a moment, a discussion will be had of another course that needs to be taken after a workplace injury. This other vital course involves workplace injury cleanup.
Legal Rights After a Workplace Injury
Specific legal rights that accrue to an injured worker can vary slightly from one state to another. With that said, there are some specific legal rights of an injured worker that exist across the country, including in California. The essential legal rights of an injured worker include:
- Right to file a claim for worker’s compensation
- Right to see a doctor of your choice
- Right to pursue medical treatment
- Right to return to your job when released from medical care and treatment
- Right to disability compensation if unable to return to work (disability compensation can be temporary or permanent)
- Right to appeal an initial determination regarding worker’s compensation benefits
- Right to legal representation throughout the worker’s compensation claims process
You do not have to use your own insurance to cover medical costs associated with a workplace injury. If your employer requests that you pursue coverage for medical costs via your own health insurance, you have the right to say “no.” On a related note, if your employer attempts to offer you some sort of incentive to forgo filing a worker’s compensation claim, you can also respond “no” to such a request.
You have the absolute right to pursue a worker’s compensation claim without fear of reprisal from your employer. Similarly, you have the absolute right to seek worker’s compensation benefits without fear of reprisal by your employer.
Overview of Workplace Injury Cleanup
As mentioned previously, when it comes to what happens after a workplace injury, appropriate workplace injury cleanup must be undertaken. As a prelude to diving into this discussion, it is important to understand that employees must not only be provided workplace safety training in regard to job tasks but also worker injury cleanup safety strategies.
Many workplace injuries are traumatic and involve the release of blood and bodily fluids. These types of situations can present the risk of exposure to biohazards. Biohazards, or biological hazards, are substances that contain dangerous pathogens. Pathogens can include viruses and bacteria capable of causing illness in humans, including serious and even fatal diseases.
As part of an employee’s initial training, specific instruction needs to be provided about safe cleanup procedures following a workplace injury. In addition, workplace injury cleanup training needs to be refreshed at suitable intervals during the course of employment. A frequent protocol is for workplace injury cleanup refresher training to occur at least annually if not every six months.
Many businesses establish a specific team of employees to oversee workplace injury cleanup. Thus, they would be the focus of the training described here. With that said, all workers should have essential training should they face a situation in which they are exposed to a site in which a traumatic workplace injury occurred.
A business may elect to retain the services of a professional workplace injury cleanup company to address this type of situation. A professional biohazard remediation service has the background, equipment, and materials needed to safely and effectively undertake workplace injury cleaning.
When it comes to workplace injury cleanup, those involved in the process need to don appropriate personal protective equipment or PPE. Personal protective equipment suitable for workplace injury cleanup needs to include:
- Protective eyewear
- Uniform or smock
- HEPA mask or respirator
A workplace injury cleanup endeavor consists of a number of stages. These include the initial cleanup and removal of biohazardous waste like blood and bodily fluids. When that is accomplished, the contaminated area is sanitized to ensure that any dangerous disease-causing pathogens are eliminated from the scene.