Someone got hurt on the job...now what? The policies and procedures for workplace injuries vary slightly across Canada, with each province having their own separate Worker's Compensation Board (WCB, or a similar organizations. In this post, we will be taking a closer look at what Manitoban employers need to do when injury occurs in their workplace.
Well, first things first, as soon as you see or hear that a worker has been injured, assess the injury and provide any first aid necessary, including a call to 9-1-1 if appropriate. Please note that if it is necessary to transport the injured worker to a hospital or other emergency facility, all costs associated with transportation (taxi fare or ambulance fees) will be covered by the employer. Once the worker is in good care, you can begin the next step.
Do I need to report this incident or injury?
Luckily for Manitobans, the criteria for reportable incidents and injuries is pretty straightforward. According to the Workers' Compensation Board of Manitoba (WCB), an employer must report an injury in the workplace if it results in the following:
- The worker loses consciousness following the accident, or
- The worker is transported, or directed by a first aid attendant or other representative of the employer to a hospital or other place of medical treatment, or is recommended by such person to go to such place, or
- The injury is one that obviously requires medical treatment, or
- The worker states that he/she intends to seek medical treatment, or
- The worker has received medical treatment for the injury, or
- The worker is unable or claims to be unable by reason of the injury to return to his or her usual job function on any working day subsequent to the day of the injury, or
- An injury resulted or is claimed to have resulted in the breakage of an artificial limb, eye glasses, contact lenses, dentures, hearing aid, or any other prosthetic device, or
- The WCB has requested that an employer forwards a report of the accident resulting in an injury or occupational disease to the WCB, or the worker has filed a claim.
All injuries must be reported within 5 business days of occurrence, but fatalities are required to be reported immediately.
On top of reporting to the WCB, you will also need to report the incident to the provincial Workplace Safety and Health Branch (WSH) so they can investigate the incident and put preventative measures in place to avoid the incident from recurring.
Workers have the right to report their injury and it is against the law for an employer to ask them otherwise. If for any reason a worker feels they are being pressured by their employer not to report their injury, they should contact the WCB and explain their situation. Help will be made available to them.
Create a Return to Work plan
Every workplace and worker is unique, as are the injuries and circumstances around them. Therefore, it is important that your return to work plans are flexible and customizable.
When creating a return to work plan for an injured worker, you must ensure that the following best practices are met:
- Offer meaningful and productive modified or alternate duties that are safe and within the worker’s functional abilities
- Be flexible and tailor the Return to Work plan to meet the worker’s individual needs in their recovery
- Keep in touch with injured workers and the WCB throughout the Return to Work process – checking in with injured workers throughout their recovery helps them maintain a connection with the workplace and shows that they are valued
- Ensure supervisors and co-workers support injured workers during recovery and participate in the Return to Work process
- Communicate your return to work program to staff, including the processes they should follow if they have to use the program.
The employee's successful return to work depends on your ability and willingness to help them be successful. Keep in mind that not only does it benefit your worker, it also benefits the company. Modified work plans help you retain experienced workers (and avoid training and hiring costs), as well as help with worker relations and morale, as workers will see that an injury does not threaten their job security.
It's important that you maintain regular contact with your worker, their doctor, and the WCB at every step of the process. This will ensure both a smooth transition for the worker, and accurate claim management from the WCB.
Once a worker can perform the essential duties of their pre-injury position, it is the employer's duty to either re-instate them to that position, or offer them a comparative job that has equal pay and benefits to the job they performed before the injury occurred.
Getting an injured worker back to work is a team effort, and as long as everyone works together, we will be able to insure today and build a safer tomorrow.