Harvard provides state-mandated Workers’ Compensation insurance that pays benefits when a work-related injury or illness prevents an employee from performing his or her job. More information regarding Workers' Compensation can be found on HARVie.
When an employee is injured at work
If an injury at work requires emergency medical care, direct your staff member to immediately seek treatment at Harvard University Health Services (HUHS). After the emergency has passed, he or she will receive any necessary additional medical care within the regular medical provider network.
It is important to investigate the cause of a workplace injury or illness and, if appropriate, correct the situation that created the risk of injury or illness. Follow these steps as soon as you learn of a possible Workers’ Compensation event:
- Secure the area. Before doing anything to restore the area to its pre-injury state, visually inspect the place where the event occurred. This will help you identify the cause of the incident. To keep the area clear for inspection, you might close a door. Ask staff to stay outside, and perhaps ask someone to stand nearby to direct others away from the area.
- Collect facts and understand the sequence of events. Interview the affected employee and any witnesses, individually and privately, as soon as possible after the incident. Ask what they saw or heard just before, during, and after the incident. To understand the chain of events, you might ask, “What happened next…” or “And then what happened?”
- Identify the causes. There may be several factors that led to the injury or illness. For example, if an employee was cut by a paper-cutter, was this due to a missing guard on the equipment’s assembly? A failure to follow safety procedures? Lack of safety training? Have safety inspections been occurring regularly and consistently?
- Recommend improvements. Once you have identified the causes of the incident, you can implement the indicated safety improvements, such as replacing or repairing faulty equipment.
- Write up the Accident Report. An accident report should be made within 24 hours of the incident, as detailed below.
Reporting a workers’ compensation event
The Supervisor/Manager and Local HR Checklist for Workers’ Compensation outlines the steps to document a workrelated injury, illness or accident and/or a potential work-related incident for purposes of workers’ compensation.
Supervisors/managers, Leave of Absence Specialists and/or local HR representatives should review Filing Workers’ Compenation Claims Online for additional information.
Staying informed of an employee’s work-related injury or illness
If an employee is out on leave due to a Workers’ Compensation situation, CCMSI will be in contact with the treating physician, and will keep you informed about your staff member’s progress through the healing process, anticipated date of return to work, and any job restrictions.
You may also consider contacting the employee on your own, if he or she is agreeable to this. This type of direct contact serves several purposes. It:
- shows that you care about your staff member’s well-being
- sends the message that you want him or her to return to work
- helps keep the employee informed of events at work
- gives you the most current information about his or her medical progress and anticipated return date
It is important to be mindful of your employee’s personal challenges and feelings, and communicate with him or her with sensitivity and compassion. Your kindness throughout these encounters can lead to greater employee loyalty, morale, and retention that may extend to the affected employee’s co-workers as well.
Overlap with Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
In most cases when employees are out on Workers’ Compensation leave, they are also covered under the FMLA, provided they meet the eligibility requirements for FMLA (benefits-eligible employees who are scheduled to work at least 17.5 hours per week, and have completed their probationary/orientation and review period. For these employees, time out of work should be designated as FMLA Leave.