Of course, you want to do what you can to keep your employees safe, but you also know that working in the construction industry comes with numerous serious and potentially fatal hazards. You expect at least some injuries to occur while hoping that everyone goes home safe and sound at the end of the workday.
North Carolina law requires you to carry workers’ compensation insurance if you have at least three employees, but as with any insurance, you would probably feel better never having to use it. However, the situation may not be as easy as simply filing a claim and moving on. An employee may attempt to file a lawsuit against you after suffering injuries, and the best time to avoid this eventuality is before the injury even occurs.
Preparation is key
When you protect your employees, you protect your company. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration sets safety standards for every industry, including construction. Understanding your obligations under OSHA standards can help protect your workers and your company. Taking the following steps could go a long way toward achieving that goal:
- Assign a safety officer for jobs you know will involve a substantial amount of danger.
- Keep first-aid supplies stocked, accessible and ready for use at all times.
- Make sure you have up-to-date emergency contact information for each employee.
- Create plans to respond to different types of accidents.
- Train supervisors and employees on safety and emergency response plans.
Preparing for the worst could end up saving our employees from unnecessary harm.
Your response matters
When an incident occurs, your first priority is to ensure the safety of all employees. Get them to a safe place so you can assess the situation and help the injured. Since many injuries may not show signs or symptoms right away, it may be a good idea to have injured employees evaluated by emergency medical personnel.
Once you take care of the above, you can then begin gathering evidence and information regarding the incident. Make sure to document any injuries regardless of how minor they may seem, since an employee may seek medical attention at a later date, saying the cause was work-related. Keep the lines of communication open. Many injured employees just want to know that the company will take care of them if they suffer an injury.
If an employee files a lawsuit
This is when your preparations, documentation and investigation will come in handy because they could help avoid protracted litigation. Instead, it may be possible to settle the claim in a fashion satisfactory to both parties. Even so, your final preparation should involve getting ready to go to trial since a settlement is never a guarantee.