As a manager, you will encounter a wide variety of obstacles and issues over the course of your career. While productivity and department or office growth are leading metrics for the successful manager to engage with, there are also some core responsibilities that a manager has – chiefly, to their staff, and the proper management of the workforce.
A key part of this responsibility is correctly managing the impact of employee injury or illness – whether or not said injury or illness was a result of a workplace incident. Here, we will examine the key steps you need to take as management in the event of employee injury, as well as the steps you should take to ensure your employee returns to their role in a safe and supported manner.
If the Accident Occurred at Work
Provide Medical Assistance
If you are at the site of the incident when your employee is injured, you should endeavour to provide medical assistance immediately. Your workplace may have a designated first-aider, who you should make attempts to contact. While immediate care is being administered in accordance with first aid guidelines, you should call for an ambulance or arrange alternative transport to a hospital.
Report the Incident
Your next step, once the employee’s safety or transport to further care has been secured, should be to properly report the incident that led to their injury. You may have an internal incident reporting process to follow, but there is also a wider legal responsibility to report serious incidents to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), via a programme called RIDDOR. This is a legal requirement for serious and fatal injuries, as well as critical ‘near misses’.
After the Accident
Leave from Work
Your employee’s recovery may necessitate further time from work – time which will likely be shored up by a doctor’s note to the same effect. As an employer, you must honour the terms of the note and provide adequate leave from work.
Proper support comes from an equitable approach to guiding your employee’s return to work. Rather than forcing them back after the period of their doctor’s note is over, converse with them about the best route to a return, and whether this could be done via a phased approach.
If the incident occurred at your workplace, and was no fault of the employee in question, there may be room for a civil case and compensation. Through your witness testimony and management support, you could ensure your employee gets the right legal support going into any potential claims.
Lastly, mental health is a serious constituent part of employee injury and illness, whether direct or indirect. Accidents of any kind can cause negative mental health outcomes, in the form of stress over recovery or sick pay, depression over changes to personal situation and even PTSD from the potential trauma of the incident.
As a manager, you should ensure that your employee is getting all the support they can on their return to work. Regular check-ins are a good start, but there may also be some company programmes in the form of professional mental health services and HR support.