When workers have a concern about safety in the workplace, they often fear that the unsafe condition could lead to injuries for them and their coworkers. If you are an employee at risk of injury, how can you address the safety issues without retaliation or being dismissed by your employer? And if you have been injured, what should you do? Here are some tips.
If You See Something, Say Something
The biggest thing you can do to improve safety in the workplace is to say something if you see a hazard. Mention it to your coworkers, alert your manager, and talk to the safety officer or union rep if you have one. Insist that your employer do something to improve safety. You also can talk to the Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MNOSHA) about your concerns.
If You or a Coworker Get Injured, Find Help Fast
If the safety issue you spotted in the workplace does not get fixed, you or a coworker may get injured. Make sure you seek emergency help as soon as the injury occurs. Get any medical treatment needed before you do anything else.
Afterward, you can talk to your manager about the safety issue again. Point out that someone just got injured and you need to fix the issue as soon as possible.
Seek Workers’ Compensation for Your Medical Expenses
Medical treatment of a workplace injury can be expensive. Head off those costs by making a claim for workers’ compensation. You will need to report the injury to your employer first. Your employer should contact its workers’ compensation insurance company about the report. Then you should receive a notice from the insurance company telling you whether benefits are granted or denied.
If you get a notice saying benefits are denied, you need to contest the decision. Usually you do this by filing a Claim Petition with the state. We recommend that you speak to a workers’ compensation lawyer before you file a Claim Petition. When you got injured because of a preventable safety issue in the workplace that you previously reported, a lawyer may have success negotiating a significant settlement for your case.
Of course, every case is different and lawyers cannot guarantee results. But workplace safety is no joke, and you should fight for the benefits you need and deserve.
Need help getting workers’ compensation for your injury? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.