HR ADVICE: Workplace injuries in Asia and the Pacific affect more than 1.1 million people every year, according to the International Labour Organization. Handling the legal and moral obligations to ensure workers’ safety or respond to occupational accidents usually starts with the HR department.
While there are existing work health and safety management and protocols, workplace injuries are inevitable, especially in the construction and manufacturing sectors. In the event of an injury, HR should be prepared to support the company in taking care of the injured employee.
Know what to do if an injury or work hazard occurs at work with these five top tips.
1. Establish a first-response system.
HR should ensure they have first responders who can immediately assist the injured and execute protocols for seeking appropriate medical attention. Meanwhile, first-aid requirements must be reviewed regularly as workplace setups change.
2. Report the accident.
HR must adhere to the reporting protocols of the company or the procedures required by their government. For instance, in Singapore, the Ministry of Manpower requires companies to report work-related accidents, workplace accidents, and Dangerous Occurrences and Occupational Diseases. The reporting must be done by the employer, workplace occupier, or doctor within 10 days of an accident or diagnosis.
3. Know the law.
While the injury is fresh, HR should be able to document all the details related to the accident. These records could be useful when responding to work injury claims and meeting legal obligations. HR should be prepared to comply with procedures and submit all necessary documents required by the law. They should be aware of any changes in relevant legislation.
For example, in the Philippines, Republic Act 11058 or An Act Strengthening Compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSHS) has been signed to amend the 41-year-old Labor Code of the Philippines. The amendment involves the creation of an Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) committee and the imposition of penalties employers may face.
4. Maintain open communication with the employee.
Communication is key to avoiding any legal issues that may arise from a workplace accident. With support from HR, the company should work with the injured worker when filing compensation claims at the employer’s insurance provider.
The employer should attend to all necessary communications and procedures to speed up the claims process. It is important to ensure that the injured worker can swiftly receive the funds needed for their treatment.
Employers should consider creating written documents in advance that outline the workers' comp process and return-to-work policies for the business. Providing these immediately to new employees is a good way to build trust and lower claims costs.
5. Be supportive of the employee’s recovery.
HR should implement a leave programme based on return-to-work policies and current laws and communicate these properly to the injured worker. Apart from compensation, expressing genuine well wishes through hospital visits and sending food and gifts to the employees and their families could also make a difference.