Despite many employers taking great care for their employees, there are times when even the best laid plans can fail.
Injuries can be as simple as a cut finger, through to traumatic injuries requiring emergency services assistance. What you do in each circumstance will depend on what has happened.
If you have suffered what is initially classed as a 'minor injury', that is, one that might need some initial first aid, it is important to prepare an account of the event that caused your injury. Many work places, particularly larger employers will have an incident report form to be completed. Even if you have just cut your finger and simply need a Band-Aid, it's important to record the details of your injury. Your cut finger today, could be something far more serious next week either to you or to someone else.
Your employer has a duty at law to ensure your workplace is safe. You have a corresponding duty to ensure that all hazards are reported so that your employer can take steps to ensure that everyone is safe on their premises. Even if there is no formal incident report, you can simply write your own account of what happened and what injuries you suffered and request that a copy be placed on your employee file and passed on to management. Ensure you keep your own copies of these documents. Sending such information by email is helpful as that can form part of a trail to demonstrate that your employer had been put on notice of the hazard or the event.
If you need to, seek medical treatment. This can be as simple as visiting your usual GP. Your GP will take notes of what has happened and where you feel your pain. It is important that you seek medical treatment early. Don't wait a few weeks thinking things will get better. Whilst you might get better, it's important to have an independent contemporaneous account of what occurred, (that is, someone independent writing down an account close to the time of the injury). The longer you wait to seek medical treatment, the harder it can be sometimes to link your injury to your event.
Ensure that you follow up with your doctor. If your injury is minor and has resolved, it can be important to ensure that is noted in your records too.
If you do need to lodge a WorkCover claim, read part 2 of our blog that outlines the claims process.
FAQ - My Employer says I have to go to their doctor. Is this true?
Answer: To keep this short and simple, no. You have the right to see your own doctor.
Your employer may have a medical centre or medical practitioner on site and for practicalities sake, or due to the nature of the circumstances of the injury it is convenient to consult with that practitioner it would be appropriate to consult with them for initial advice, you can, and should consult with your own family or regular GP for your ongoing care.
My Employer is insisting that they can attend my medical consultations with me. Is that correct?
Answer: No. There is no 'entitlement' at law for an employer, or other third party to attend your medical consultations. There is nothing wrong with an employer asking to attend your consultations with you, however you should never feel that you must consent to them attending. In our experience, many doctors are uncomfortable when they know that employers are attending their consultations. A handful of doctors will refuse to allow them in, however these doctors are rare and most will follow your lead.
An employer has an obligation to participate in your rehabilitation process, but that does not extend to allowing them into your private consultations. Your Workers' Compensation insurer will liaise with your medical providers and your employer to determine how to best offer you rehabilitation and support.