New small business owners are often laser focused on things like profitability, productivity, and customer acquisition. But they can be unaware, and thus unprepared, for the small business owner liabilities that exist when an employee gets injured on the job.
When it Comes to Small Business Owner Liabilities: Don’t Put Your Head in the Sand!
When you own a small business you not only need to focus on generating a profit, but you also have to make sure you are maintaining a safe and secure environment to sustain that profitability. As an employer, you are responsible for your employees on the job. This means if an employee gets hurt in the workplace, you may be held liable for his or her injuries.
Don’t ignore this area. There are three things that you as a small business owner should do right now:
Get educated about small business owner liabilities for workplace injuries.
Seek out professional advice regarding your rights and the rights of your employees as well as relevant safety requirements.
Put a protocol in place to make sure you and your employees are protected should they get injured on the job. This includes creating an employee safety guide and training.
These three steps are extremely important if your small business involves a lot of manual labor such as repairs, construction, heavy lifting, or working with machinery or other equipment. It is also relevant for businesses that involve the handling of toxic chemicals or hot substances.
According to Find Law, worker’s compensation is just one area you need to prioritize if an employee gets hurt on the job. Knowing the other elements in play is important in order for you to properly protect your employees and show that you prioritize their safety and seek their welfare.
Keep in mind that if you find yourself confused as to what exactly your employee safety guide should have, or if wonder whether you should even have one in the first place, then you need to be consulting a legal professional who has the knowledge to give you the details you need.
Employer Responsibilities: Some Things to Consider
Whenever one of your employees are injured at the workplace, you as the employer are required to file an Employer’s First Report of Injury or Illness form with the injured worker’s insurance carrier and the injured employee as soon after the injury as possible. The Employer’s First Report of Injury or Illness provides information on the worker, employer, insurance carrier and medical practitioner necessary to begin the claims process. Details of the worker’s employment and circumstances surrounding the injury or illness are also required.
Copies of this form will then need to be sent to your Workers’ Compensation Insurance Carrier as well as the injured employee.
Part of this process means cooperating with your worker’s insurance carrier, especially when it comes to the documents they need. They may request the personnel file of your injured employee, alongside his or her payroll history. They may even request speaking with a supervisor in order to corroborate the employee’s story. Providing these carriers with the information they need can help ensure your injured workers get the treatment they need.
Responsibility Goes Both Ways
In the same token as the above, it’s also your responsibility as an employer to make sure your employees are aware of their obligations so you can fulfill your responsibilities towards them. You can only help them in the best way possible if they also follow proper procedures. When reviewing your small business owner liabilities with your attorney or legal counsel, try to assess how best to inform employees of the following:
A protocol that allows them to report injuries at work as soon as possible, such as completely and accurately filling out the First Report Injury form mentioned above for any injuries that occur in the workplace.
The importance of seeking immediate medical attention. The employee should be encouraged to follow their doctor’s instructions in order to be treated properly. It’s also important that there are protocols in place to allow employees to share relevant information such as forms and correspondence, as they may be needed on your end later.
Cooperation and responsibility are key elements you need emphasize to employees when handling their workplace injury. Let them know that you are here for them so they should do what they can to properly care of themselves. For instance, if the insurance company asks that you allow them to see a physician they choose for something called an independent medical examination, it’s usually a good idea to cooperate with them.
As an employer, making sure you are providing your employees with a safe environment to work in should be one of your top priorities. After all, a good working environment is something can boost productivity, improve employee moral and job satisfaction. So, make an effort to understand your small business owner liabilities and make sure there are systems in place in order to protect your employees, your business, and yourself if a worker gets hurt on the job.
***Disclaimer: This article should not be treated as legal advice. It’s recommended that readers still consult legal counsel and contact a lawyer should they have any concerns regarding small business liability.
This article was brought to you by The Levin Firm located in Philadephia. If you have any questions or would like more information on workplace injuries, you can contact us here: https://www.levininjuryfirm.com/contact/
Image source: Freedigitalphotos.net
Author Bio: Pamela Richardson Pamela Richardson is an experienced legal writer focused on down-to-earth legal education and knowledge and is hoping to one day start up her own new business.