Human Resources: Establish protocol for injuries

Q. How should I handle a worker’s injury?
Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A. Many questions run through any manager’s or supervisor’s mind when an employee comes to them about an injury or incident.

To begin, it is important employees understand what they should be reporting. Workers’ compensation procedures suggest all accidents—even those that seem minor—be reported, even if the employee is unsure if they are injured. If an injured worker needs first aid or medical treatment, it is important they seek the treatment they need and then notify their manager or HR. Doing so quickly is vital in getting the worker back to the job. 

The items and steps typically required post-accident or incident will vary company to company and even industry to industry. Protocol is usually driven by a company’s policy. Items such as whether or not a drug screen or breath alcohol test should be conducted and the time frame in which it should be completed following the incident are important. Also, what forms or reports need to be completed and who they should be turned in to? And who is responsible for managing the employee post-accident or incident if an injury has resulted?  

Having a designated person, such as HR, be the point of contact with the injured employee and workers’ compensation is vital in effectively managing the claim. 

If an employee is returned to light duty, the restrictions should be outlined as to what their limitations are according to the essential functions of their job and for how long they will need light duty accommodations. By having this information, you are then better equipped to make a decision if the company is able to work within the employee’s restrictions or not.

Melissa Seitz is an HR generalist at Medical Service Company. Reach her at