Do you know the drill? The importance of preparation and timeliness for reporting construction site injuries
With nearly 6.5 million people on construction sites across the U.S. each day, accidents are likely to occur. In 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 1,008 fatal and 174,000 non-fatal construction injuries. The injuries included falls, structural collapses, electric shocks, failure to use proper protective equipment, and many others.
While safety guidelines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are put in place, accidents still happen. Are you and your crew prepared for the aftermath? When an injury inevitably occurs, employers must understand their roles as business owners, especially when it comes to the claims process.
Before an injury occurs, employers should educate all team members on workers’ compensation injury and illness reporting requirements, outline who an employee should report an incident to, and how that report should be handled.
How does the workers’ compensation claim process work?
When an injury occurs, the injured employee must notify their employer and file a formal workers’ compensation claim. The employer is then responsible for giving the employee the appropriate paperwork and guidance, as well as filing the claim with the insurance provider in compliance with state law for reporting workplace injuries. However, it’s important to remember that every situation is different. State workers’ compensation laws and deadlines vary considerably, so employers should do their research and speak with a trusted advisor when an employee injury occurs at the workplace.
Once reported by the employee, the employer has limited time to submit the paperwork for the employee to receive workers’ compensation benefits. The timeline for filing a workers’ compensation claim for benefits varies significantly depending on the state and can range from one to three years or more. It’s always best to report an incident as soon as possible, as this often reduces the time it takes to close a claim. Both parties should act quickly when workplace injuries occur as the claim can be denied if a state’s workers’ compensation claim deadline is missed.
Important steps construction business owners should take when filing a workers’ compensation claim
Educating employees on proper reporting processes can help streamline claims if and when injuries occur. When an injury occurs, employers must:
• Ensure the injured employee receives immediate medical care
• Complete an injury/illness report and file it with the organization’s workers’ compensation carrier — within 24 hours of the injury if possible
• Keep communication open with the workers’ compensation carrier and the injured employee
• When appropriate, establish a timeline for returning to work
• Support the injured employee as they transition back into their role within the organization
While not all accidents can be prevented, having a clear plan in place when they occur is essential. Employers must understand their responsibility to employees and their businesses’ bottom line when correctly and efficiently filing workers’ compensation claims.
Editor’s Note: This article is for informational purpose only and not an endorsement of any particular insurance carrier.
About the Author: As Pie’s first chief claims officer, Dimitrius is responsible for leading and implementing the company’s claims strategy. Over the past 15 years, Dimitrius has held various strategic and claims leadership roles in both personal lines and commercial lines. His background includes leading in workers’ compensation, group benefits, auto, property, and catastrophe claims organizations. To learn more about Dimitrius, construction safety and workers’ compensation claims, visit Pie Insurance.