Reporting Workplace Accidents
IntroductionDo any of these statements sound familiar?
Members who do not report workplace accidents lose the protection of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act. Failure to report also allows the conditions that caused the accident to go unchecked and leave colleagues vulnerable to similar injuries.
What Type of Accident/Injury Should be Reported?
All accidents/injuries that occur on the worksite, or that arise out of and in the course of employment, no matter how trivial, should be reported to the employer.
Not every injury is reported to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). An employer need only report accidents if the member is unable to earn full wages, or if the injury necessitates some form of health care, (e.g. physiotherapy).
Remember: “If in doubt – FILE!”
How to Initiate a WSIB Claim
The employer must complete a Form 7 and file it with the WSIB. The Form 7 may be completed off site (school board) and a general accident reporting sheet used at the school. However, Form 7 is the official accident report. It comes in triplicate and members have a right to a copy.
When an injured worker seeks medical attention, the treating physician is obligated to complete and submit a Form 8. If a Form 7 does not get filed, a Form 8 will also trigger the start of a WSIB claim. Forms 7 and 8 are both key to initiating a WSIB claim.
The injured member may also report the accident to the WSIB through a Form 6, provided by the WSIB, usually at the injured member’s request. This form is the member’s opportunity to describe the workplace accident and injury suffered.
Claims filed with the proper information are generally paid without unreasonable delay. Failure to report properly can result in lengthy delays, and lead to more frequent denials.
The information provided on Forms 7, 8, and 6 must be consistent. Any inconsistencies in the accident information, areas of injury, dates, and lost time days will cause long delays and can possibly result in the claim not being allowed.
Forms 6, 7, 8 can also be downloaded from the WSIB website at www.wsib.on.ca.
When Should You Report an Accident/Injury?
A workplace accident/injury should be reported to the employer as soon as possible/if not immediately following the accident/injury.
Accidents must be reported to the WSIB no later than six months from the date of the accident, and in the case of an occupational illness, no later than six months from when the member learns that he or she suffers from the occupational illness.
Functional Abilities Form (FAF)
Every injured worker is obligated to consent to the release of functional abilities information. The information is provided to employers and is used to assess whether a member can return to his or her regular job or if accommodations are needed.
There is space on the Form 7 for an injured worker’s signature consenting to the release of functional abilities information. This signature does not mean that the injured worker agrees with what is reported on the Form 7.
Obligation to Cooperate
The Workplace Safety and Insurance Act sets out a duty of cooperation. Injured members and employers must contact one another as soon as possible after the accident occurs, and maintain communication during the worker’s recovery or impairment.
Employers must attempt to provide suitable employment that is consistent with a member’s abilities. Members must help the employer to identify suitable work. Your ETFO Local can help if asked to do so.
Keep these suggestions in mind in case of a workplace accident:
Members are advised to contact the WSIB Counsellor in Protective Services at 416-962-3836 or 1- 888-838-3836 for additional advice.