Area of Law: Workers' Compensation
Answer # 646
Employers' responsibilities if a workplace injury occursRegion: Ontario Answer # 646
Under the law, an employer has several responsibilities after a work-related injury or disease occurs. These include first aid, transportation to a health care facility, if necessary, reporting the accident to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), continuing regular employee benefits, and returning the worker to the same or a similar job when the worker is able to return to work. The employer is also required to pay the worker their regular daily rate for the day of an accident.
In the case of a temporary worker being injured while on the job, the client-employer (at whose facility the individual was working) and not the temp agency, is responsible for the cost of the compensation claim.
Report accident or disease
The employer must report accidents to the WSIB if:
- an employee has to obtain health care for a work-related injury or disease, or
- if an employee has to take time off work and cannot earn regular wages because of the injury or disease.
The employer is required to complete a special form called an Employer’s Report of Injury / Illness (Form 7) within three days of learning about the worker’s condition. The form must be received by the Board within seven business days or an employer may face penalties.
Report construction worker accident
Along with the usual procedures and policies for reporting a workplace accident or illiness as mentioned above, there are further requirements for employers primarily engaged in construction. if a construction worker has been critically injured or killed at their workplace, the employer must immediately report it to an inspector at the Minstry of Labour, and inform the joint health and safety committee or representative, as well as the union, if there is one.
Continue contributions to employment benefits
If the worker is away due to a work-related injury or disease, the employer is required to continue making contributions to regular employment benefits such as health insurance, life insurance, and pensions for at least one year. If an employee usually contributes to any of these benefits, they will be required to continue contributing while away from work, or the employer will not be obligated to provide the benefit.
Return injured worker to their job
Under the law, employers are required to reinstate a worker after they have recovered, unless the employer regularly employs less than 20 people, or if the worker has not worked continuously for at least one year before taking the time-off. If the worker’s job is unavailable, the employer is required to give them a job that is comparable in responsibility and pay. If the worker cannot perform the essential duties of the worker’s job, then the employer is required to offer them the first vacant position that is suitable to their skills and physical ability. Worker re-employment and re-instatement rights last for two years from the day of the injury or one year from the date the worker is able to return to pre-injury employment, whichever comes first. If a worker turns 65, the employer is no longer obligated to re-employ them.
The WSIB will decide when the worker is ready to return to work. Workers and employers must co-operate with each other in the effort to return the injured worker to work as soon as is safely possible. If an employer gives a partially disabled worker suitable work and cannot accommodate the worker to perform the essential duties of the worker’s pre-injury job, and then a job comes up that is more similar to the worker’s original position, the employer must offer this job to the worker. Or, if the worker’s condition improves while she or he is employed in another job, and the worker becomes able to return to pre-injury employment, the employer must offer the worker their original position or one that is comparable.
Under the Human Rights Code and under the compensation legislation, if a worker returns to work with a disability, an employer is required to accommodate the worker in order to help them perform the essential duties of the job.
Penalties for not returning an injured worker to their job
If an employer does not comply with the return to work obligations of the legislation, penalties will be levied by the Board. If an employer terminates an injured worker within six months from their returning to work, the employer must prove that the termination was not because of the injury or the compensation claim.
Return injured construction worker to their job
Employers engaged primarily in construction have slightly different guidelines when it comes to re-employment of their construction workers (as opposed to other staff, such as administrative). According to the WSIB, when a construction worker is unable to work as a result of a work-related injury or disease, all employers have a duty to re-employ that worker, regardless of how many construction workers they employ and the worker’s length of employment. Office staff of a construction firm, not working at a construction site, are only eligible for re-employment if they work for an employer with at least 20 workers, and they must have been employed by the employer for at least 12 months prior to the date of his or her work-related injury or disease.
For more information on employer and employee responsibilities after a work-related injury or disease arises, contact the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. For legal assistance, consult with a lawyer.
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