Having a strong work ethic can help set you apart from your coworkers when your boss wants to hand out raises or promotions. Unfortunately, your work ethic can also put you at risk for unnecessary injury. If you get hurt while working, your first instinct might be to just shrug it off and keep going. Whether you start feeling a pain in your knee every time you bend or a twinge in your back as you lift materials, an injury that flares while working may seem like something to simply ignore until it goes away.
However, if a single dose of over-the-counter analgesic medicine and a night of rest do not resolve your symptoms, you may actually have a serious work injury that requires medical care and rest. The potential for a long-term, disabling injury to go untreated is exactly why workers who experience an injury on the job should report it to their employer as soon as possible.
Reporting the injury helps you get a timely medical evaluation
If you ignore the symptoms until they become so overwhelming that you can’t force yourself out of bed and into work in the morning, you may do more harm to your body than good for your budget. The sooner that you see a doctor who can diagnose and treat the condition, the better your long-term prognosis for recovery.
Regardless of whether the injury develops from performing the same motion over and over or due to a sudden accident on the job, you need to tell your employer about what happened in order to either leave work and see your physician or see the medical professional on staff at your place of employment.
You may need to take time off of work to heal
In the case of both repetitive motion injuries and traumatic injuries, you will likely either need to have an adjusted workflow for several weeks or a protracted leave of absence while your body heals from the damage caused by your job.
If you have already advised your employer of your injury, they will likely not find the doctor’s note requiring rest or different responsibilities as shocking as they might if you don’t advise your employer ahead of time about your symptoms. It will also be easier for you to seek workers’ compensation disability benefits if your employer has a record for the injury.
Reporting the injury protects you from retaliation
Some people worry about reporting an injury to their boss because they don’t want to wind up penalized by their employer due to something that is not their fault. However, if you don’t report your pain or injury to your employer and it impacts your work performance, your boss may be able to reprimand or even fire you because of the injury.
Once you report a workplace injury to your employer, you have protection from retaliatory actions related to your injury and the request for reasonable accommodations or leave. In other words, notifying your employer about the injury could actually protect your job security.