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Injured at work? What is the first step towards benefits?

What kind of information does the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) require after a work accident? How do employers know what to include? For Colorado employees, a completed "First Report of Injury" can help ensure that requirements are met so that the injured worker can receive workers' compensation benefits.

There are several things employers must keep in mind in the event of a work accident. In the event of an injury, employers need to report them to their insurance company within a certain amount of time. Even if the employer wasn't present at the time the injury was incurred, once the employer knows about the injury it must be reported.

When reporting the injury, the employer must include this information:

  • Employee information (include wages)
  • What part of the body was injured
  • What the employee had been doing at the time of the accident
  • How the accident and injury occurred
  • What was the object that caused the injury
  • Where the injury occurred
  • Whether the employee was treated for the injury

Much of the information requested seems very basic, but specifics can make all the difference. When reporting the injury, an employer is encouraged to be as specific as possible. When describing how the accident happened and what actually caused the injury, the details are important. For example, if you suffered a chemical burn, your employer should include how the exposure occurred, the type of chemical involved and the location of the burn injury on the worker's body.

Completing the form does not guarantee you a certain amount of compensation benefits and even after the "First Report of Injury" is submitted, a number of other issues can come up. But making sure that all the information submitted is correct can help you get access to the benefits you need.

Source: Colorado.gov, "First Report of Injury," accessed Jan. 28, 2014.

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