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What Is the Employer’s Responsibility When a Worker Is Injured?

On Behalf of Christian Ayers
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Every employer has a certain obligation to the employees who comprise their workforce. North Carolina’s labor laws do a great deal to protect employees from unlawful actions that are sometimes brought against them by their employers. Workers’ compensation is only one such method of protecting workers. You may be wondering, “What is the employer’s responsibility when a worker is injured?” If you have been injured at work, contact a Concord workers’ compensation attorney today.

What is the employer's responsibility when a worker is injured?

Employers’ Responsibility to Their Employees

When an employee is injured in the workplace, whether it is a total accident or the employee’s own fault for engaging in negligent behavior, their employer is responsible for reporting the injury to the company’s insurance carrier. According to the North Carolina Industrial Commission, an employer must report a workers’ comp claim for an injury, an illness, or any allegation of an injury that is sustained in the workplace and looked at by a doctor.

Employers have an expected responsibility to maintain a safe working environment for their employees. Failure to comply with this most basic need for employee safety could be considered a violation of Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) rules. OSHA regulations are in place to define an employer’s health and safety responsibilities to their employees, including general safety responsibilities. These include:

  • Displaying Proper Posters: If a poster is required by federal and state OSHA rules to be available to employees at all times, it must be displayed prominently in the workplace. That way, every employee can be aware of their rights and responsibilities that are protected under said regulations. These posters largely describe the health and safety rights that are available to the employees.
  • Proper Safety Training: Every employer is expected to provide proper and relevant safety training to the workers who need it. The training must be available in any language and/or vocabulary that the workers in question can understand. This training should also be comprehensive.
  • Proper Warnings: If there is dangerous equipment in the workplace or consistent hazards that the employer is aware of, the employer must notify their employees about said hazards and dangers. Employers can alert employees about these hazards through proper training, warning posters, alarms, information sheets, or any method that gets the point across and notifies employees about any inherent dangers in their workplace.

Workplace Injuries

In the event of a workplace injury, which is quite common in virtually every type of workplace, employers must make a formal incident report and report the situation to their insurance carrier. The injured employee can then make a workers’ comp claim, assuming they are eligible to do so. Employers cannot legally interfere in a workers’ comp claim. If you believe that your employer has threatened to fire you if you pursue a workers’ comp claim, you should consult with an experienced workers’ comp lawyer to discuss your options.

In an ideal situation, your employer would work with you to develop a workers’ comp case so that you can feel some peace and security after your accident. However, some employers may feel that workers’ comp somehow undermines their authority or reflects poorly on their management style. This can create a toxic work environment that only succeeds in alienating employees.


Q: How Should Employers Respond to Workplace Injuries?

A: Employers should respond quickly and effectively to workplace injuries. Employers have a financial and legal responsibility to look after their employees, especially in the event of a workplace injury. Employers should document the injury and keep a record of the claim. They should also provide support and ensure that the injured employee receives proper medical care. Employers should report the injury to their workers’ comp insurance carrier promptly so the injured employee’s claim goes through smoothly.

Q: What Responsibility Do You Hold in the Case of an Injury While on the Job?

A: Employees have a responsibility to act responsibly and sensibly while on the job. If there is an injury, they are expected to conduct themselves properly and seek medical attention accordingly. If the accident happens as a result of the employee conducting themselves in an improper way, such as while intoxicated or knowingly violating policy, then they may not qualify for workers’ comp and could be responsible for their own recovery.

Q: What Are the Actions to Be Taken When an Injury Occurs in the Workplace?

A: It is important to take sensible and immediate actions when an injury occurs in the workplace, regardless of your place in the chain of command. If you witness someone get injured while at work, you should take steps to ensure that they are safe. Employers should help move any injured workers out of the hazard zone and notify the proper authorities as soon as possible. Analyze the situation, take care of your employees, and provide some much-needed leadership during a stressful and chaotic time.

Q: Do Employers Have a Duty to Minimize the Risk of Injury?

A: Yes, employers have a duty to minimize the risk of injury. Employers are expected to provide a certain duty of care to their employees. Under OSHA regulations, they have to provide a safe, secure, and well-maintained working environment for their employees. Steps that can be taken to provide such an environment may include proper training, notification of hazards, and a fast response in the event of a workplace injury. A workplace should be made as harmless as possible.

Reach Out to an Experienced Workers’ Comp Lawyer Today

Regardless of what your role in the company happens to be, facing the aftermath of a workplace injury can be a stressful situation that you may not have been prepared to deal with. Employees may be struggling to file a workers’ compensation claim, while employers may feel uneasy about failing to take care of an employee. Either way, the situation is not ideal, but you do not have to face it alone.

The legal team at Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler is prepared to help you build your case for workers’ compensation or understand how the whole process works. We can provide sound legal counsel, much-needed answers, and help when dealing with insurance carriers. Contact us to schedule a consultation.