Employees, imagine this: You’re on the job on a Thursday, and something happens. A small cut, a back strain, or a pulled muscle—no need for immediate attention. You decide that reporting it is unnecessary, decide to wrap it up and go about your day.

Maybe you don’t want to spend time working on paperwork. Maybe you don’t want to be labeled “accident prone.” Maybe the bureaucratic process seems pointless. Maybe, you don’t think it’s serious. For six other reasons, check out the EHS article: Top 9 Reasons Workers Don’t Report Near Misses.

What seems to you to be nothing serious at the moment really finds a way to rear its ugly head—on Sunday.

The small cut turned out to be infected, the back strain has you unable to move, or the pulled muscle has rendered an extremity completely useless. Seems pretty serious now, right?

You resolve to go to your employer on Monday to report the incident that happened on Thursday.

Unfortunately for you, a weekend has passed, meaning that a 48 hours have passed in which your employer had no right or reason to know where you were. To your employer, you could have gotten cut in a freak cooking accident, strained your back doing yard work, or pulled a muscle at a weekend softball league.

The opportunities for your employer (as well as the workers’ compensation insurance carrier) to deny the company’s responsibility just jumped from zero on Thursday to a much more comfortable number for the employer/insurance on Monday.

Now, you’re unable to work and have to see a doctor. A bit more serious than the minor injury suffered less than a week ago. Even if you have good health insurance, you still are bearing the cost of your deductible, wages from lost work as well as the grueling recovery process for back injuries.

Do you still think that not reporting injuries or near misses is no big deal?

Proactivity and rapid response is key to minimizing an issue that is avoidable altogether.

The same goes for employers. If you downplay reporting in your organization and this occurs, you may have to deal with the potential inspections and court cases that come with an injured worker—especially if he or she goes to a personal injury attorney who will do everything for the worker’s settlement.

Failure to report an incident is dangerous and costly for everyone involved.

You need a culture of safety whose goal is to minimize unsafe behaviors, but also need a plan for the unexpected.

Optimum Safety Management has, for decades, helped companies to develop, implement, and operate under a safety plan that maximizes your return on safety. Learn more about our company, stay up to date on the latest workplace safety trends by signing up for the Optimum E-Newsletter, and contact us today to see how we can help you make the workplace safer, more productive, and more profitable.

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