As if the statistics page in this section wasn't scary enough – are you sitting down? – Research shows that two out of three accidents suffered by workers between the ages of 15 and 24 aren't reported.
What does it mean if an accident isn't reported to your employer and WorkSafeNB?
- The worker doesn't receive the compensation and benefits they might be entitled to, through WorkSafeNB.
- The accident isn't investigated, and dangerous situations aren't fixed, which means it could happen again.
For example: Tom is injured at work, and reports it to his supervisor. Together they complete Form 67 and submit it to WorkSafeNB.
Here's what happens next:
- Tom receives 85% of his wages while off work due to his injury.
- Tom's medical bills are covered.
- Tom receives physiotherapy for a full year after the accident, and the costs are covered for him.
- Tom can't return to his old job due to a permanent work restriction, so WorkSafeNB pays for him to get retrained, so that he can return to another position with his old employer.
- The faulty machine that in part caused Tom's injury is fixed.
- Workers that are now responsible for using the machinery that injured Tom are properly trained on how to use it safely, and how to avoid
injuring themselves as Tom did.
None of those things would happen if Tom's injury wasn't properly reported.
That's a big deal.
Accidents can go unreported for a variety of reasons:
- The worker doesn't want to get in trouble or is embarrassed.
- The worker doesn't want to get a co-worker in trouble.
- The worker doesn't know that any injury, accident or close call should be reported.
- The worker thinks that since the accident or injury wasn't serious, they don't want to make a big deal of it.
- The employer doesn't want their workers' compensation insurance rates to go up. (For more information on workers' compensation insurance, and how rates are calculated, please visit the WorkSafeNB's website.)
First – never be intimidated. Reporting accidents at work is the right thing to do. Oh, and it's also the law. The law indicates that the employer cannot discriminate against you for reporting an accident.
Second – it can be hard to know what to report. Most workplace accidents require that your employer is made aware of the incident, and that a report to WorkSafeNB is made, even if you don't need to take time off work, or need medical attention.
If involved in a workplace accident, be sure to:
- Notify your supervisor.
- Fill in a Form 67, providing details of the accident and be sure it is sent on to WorkSafeNB (1 800 222-9775).
Here are a few examples of the sort of things that need reporting:
- Traumatic injuries happen quickly, causing trauma to the body. Examples include broken bones, cuts, and burns.
- Repetitive strain injuries include strains or sprains caused by repeatedly performing the same activity. For example, an assembly-line worker may develop a repetitive strain injury in the wrist as a result of performing job duties. (For more information on repetitive strain injuries, please review WorkSafeNB's Ergonomics and MSI pamphlet.)
- Occupational diseases are caused by a job site condition. For example, workers repeatedly exposed to toxic materials in the workplace may develop conditions that affect their health.
- Recurring injuries happen when a job site condition causes difficulty with an old work-related injury.
Your employer should also be interested in hearing about any close calls at your job site. Just because nobody got hurt, doesn't mean that something significant didn't happen. A close call or near-miss can shine a bright light on a workplace hazard that your employer and fellow workers may not have been aware of. Action should be taken to prevent something similar from happening again.
If you are having trouble getting your employer to report an accident at your job site or aren't comfortable reporting the incident to your employer, get help.
If you have questions about whether or not you should report something that has happened to you or someone else at your place of employment, call WorkSafeNB at 1 800 222-9775. Your call is free and confidential.
POSTER: When an Accident Happens (PDF)
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