An accident occurs at your place of business. Your employee is injured. What should you do first?
Your choice of response can take the situation in entirely different directions. Simple slips and falls can result in clear-cut claims or costly lawsuits. With the proper plan in place, you can achieve the former and avoid the latter.
If one of your employees suffers an injury, take the following initial steps to move the situation in the right direction.
1. Prepare: This step should already be completed before any injury occurs. It’s essential to have a plan in place for workplace injuries.
Your plan should be a written document that is posted for all employees to follow. Provide training to ensure everyone knows what protocols to follow in the case of an accident.
2. Examine: Assess the injury immediately. What type of injury is it? How serious is it? If you have any staff members trained in first aid, involve them in this initial examination.
For severe injuries, enlist the help of emergency medical professionals. For non-emergencies, speak with your employee about what medical care he or she may need in the immediate future, and decide on next steps.
3. Document: The incident should be well-documented. Remember that workplace injury plan you developed? You should have the proper forms readily available, and complete them right away.
Submit these to the appropriate parties, such as your insurance provider. Ensure proper forms are also provided for the employee’s doctor. The physician may need return-to-work authorization forms or temporary work restriction forms. This makes the process go more smoothly and keeps you, the employee, the insurance carrier, and the doctor on the same page.
4. Treat: Make sure your employee gets the medical attention he or she needs. An immediate visit to a clinic or an occupational health doctor will help establish the nature and extent of the injuries.
A delay can result in unnecessary complications, both physically and financially. Because of this, it can be helpful to establish an ongoing relationship with a specific medical facility or physician to handle any and all workplace injuries at your business.
The medical provider can have all your standard forms on file and remain familiar with your incident protocols. This relationship can help streamline the process for both you and the injured employee.
5. Follow up: Let the employee know you care about his or her welfare. Follow up to find out how the doctor visit went. Ask how your employee is feeling. Remove your boss hat for a moment and simply offer person-to-person concern.
Then, replace that employer cap and work with your employee to develop a return-to-work plan. Find out what else, if anything, the person needs from you to facilitate a full recovery.
Workplace injuries are never welcome, but following these crucial steps can make them less disastrous and keep the experience as positive as possible for all parties involved.
There’s an easy – and important – answer to this question. The truth is, online entrepreneurs need protection just as much as traditional brick-and-mortar (B&M) businesses. Specific coverage will vary somewhat, but commercial insurance is still a must. Here’s why:
Typically, online business owners should carry:
Commercial property insurance: Many home-based business owners assume their homeowners policy will cover their business assets. This is generally not the case. For proper protection of inventory, tools, materials, or equipment, you should have a commercial property insurance policy. This will provide coverage in case of theft or damage. Without it, one storm or one criminal could bankrupt your operations.
Commercial liability insurance: What happens if a customer sues you? Any lawsuit related to your business operations will not be covered by your homeowners policy. You need commercial liability insurance to provide coverage for the settlement and your defense costs. Even if you win the case, attorney fees add up quickly. Some companies are more likely to be sued than others, but anyone who provides a service or a product (either online or via B&M) is vulnerable.
Cyber liability insurance: Internet security is essential in today’s online marketplace. Even with the best protocols in place, you are still at risk. If your system is hacked, you may lose sensitive information about your business and your clients. You may suffer costly downtime. And it may impact your customers as well. With so much at stake, you can’t afford not to have cyber coverage.
Workers’ compensation: Do you have employees? Even if they don’t work in a B&M location, both full- and part-time employees must have workers’ compensation coverage. Consult with your insurance agent on exactly what coverage you need based on your operations and employee responsibilities.
Professional liability insurance: Those who don’t sell a product can still get sued. If advice provided in a consultation causes harm, or is perceived to have caused harm, you might get sued. This policy will cover you in these potentially costly cases.
Products liability insurance: This coverage is only needed by those who sell a product rather than a service. Even if you believe your product is completely benign, it’s a good idea to have coverage in place. You might be surprised at how children (or even adults) can hurt themselves. As they say: Better safe than sorry.
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