My brother-in-law is a small business owner, and when a worker is injured on the job, it really takes a toll on his company because even one less employee can make a difference. Sometimes the injury is legitimate, and sometimes it isn’t. But employers can’t just assume an employee is pulling a fast one to get workers compensation benefits. He and I researched the subject and found there are ways to evaluate an on-the-job worker injury. Even better, there are ways to set up a place of business to minimize injuries in the first place.
Each state has different rules, but most states require small business owners to purchase workers compensation insurance that would cover medical expenses and a portion of lost wages if employees were hurt on the job. The problem is that some employees claim they were hurt at work when they really weren’t. Some employees do this when they are afraid of being laid off and figure that income from workers comp is better than no income at all. Other employees who have an old injury might claim they received it at work, especially if they don’t have health insurance.
Look for Fraud
An accident that no one saw is a sign of fraud. Injury claims that happen on Monday mornings are suspect. Those injuries were likely sustained on the weekend away from work. Employees with a history of borderline injuries could also be trying to scam their boss with a new claim. It is wise to be leery of unhappy workers or new employees who claim an on-the-job injury. If an employee is unwilling to help in filing a claim or says the injury is more serious than what is appears, an employer should put up his antennae.
Because my brother-in-law has more than 10 employees, he needs to report on-the-job injuries to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA can help prevent injuries by sending an inspector to a business to help identify and evaluate any hazards. Inspectors include health and safety professionals, insurance providers, industrial hygienists, and ergonomists.
Knowing which types of injuries are most likely to occur on the job can help evaluate the injury. The most common types of injuries are cuts, burns, bruises, sprains, and fractures. Most injuries occur on the shoulders, head and hands. People are injured by falling, slipping, having a poor body position while working and being hit by an object. Of particular note are workstation injuries that involve ergonomics. This refers to overuse injuries sustained from poor posture and overusing muscles. Employees are at risk when they use awkward positions and repetition. Vibration, glare, inadequate lighting, and length of exposure also contribute to ergonomic claims.