Workplace safety

Each employer has a duty to provide a workplace that is free of known dangers that may harm employees. Like all workers, you have the right to working conditions that are free of known health and safety hazards.

Since accidents and injuries often occur unexpectedly, the list below provides a series of actions to consider if you are harmed on the job, including seeking medical care, contacting the police and injury assistance. Amidst what may be chaos and confusion, it is essential to care for the caregiver!

Obtain first aid.

Immediately report the injury to your supervisor and get relieved of duties, if necessary.

  • Submit an employee injury/accident report with the facts of the event.
  • Seek immediate support resources for stress debriefing and posttraumatic counseling services, as needed. Consider accessing employee assistance program resources.

Submit an incident/occurrence report.

  • Describe what happened, provide event facts, consider a timeline, identify those involved.
  • Report all incidents and threats of workplace violence and share with coworkers at safety huddle; discuss ways to prevent similar events in the future.

Seek medical attention.

  • Go to the emergency room or health‑care provider of your choice.
  • Inform the provider the injury is work-related and provide details of the injury.
  • If you provide a written injury statement to the provider, retain a copy for your file.
  • Request medical directions in writing and follow all medical directions.
  • Obtain assistance from the provider to file a workers' compensation claim. (The claim will go through a review process for approval. If the claim is approved, Labor & Industries or your self-insured employer will cover approved medical bills directly related to your injury.)
  • If care is needed beyond the first visit, ensure that the provider you are seeing is approved for future visits.

Keep a personal log of events.

  • Track missed days of work, travel, out-of-pocket expenses, and daily details of your injury and circumstances.

Contact your union representative.

File a police report promptly.

  • If you are a victim of work place violence (or another crime), you have the right to file a police report. (Your organization will not do this for you.)
  • Both HIPAA and Washington state law allow the disclosure of Protected Health Information (PHI) to a law enforcement official that the covered entity believes in good faith constitutes evidence of criminal conduct that occurred on the premises of the hospital. 45 CFR 164.512(f)(5); RCW 70.02.200 (1)(g).
  • Write down details of the event to create a report that is clear, accurate, factual and thorough. File the police report in person or by telephone (avoid electronic filing).
  • A law enforcement officer will investigate and collect evidence about the reported event and will meet with you in person to finalize the report. Cooperate with law enforcement and provide evidence.
  • The police report is provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s office, where a determination is made on how to proceed. The prosecuting attorney decides if there is sufficient evidence to prosecute a crime.
  • Retain your case number to follow-up on the investigation and to obtain a copy of the report.

Seek Workers’ Compensation.

  • Discuss missed work with your employer/Workers’ Compensation Representative.
  • Expect that the three consecutive days of work immediately following your injury will be considered a waiting period. L&I or your self-insured employer typically won't pay for these days, if they are the only ones you miss.
  • Refer to the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (lni.wa.gov) for additional information on time-loss and wage replacement.