Injury on the Job: Prevent It from Ruining Work Relationships

Several things can ruin a work relationship, after an injury on the job. Injuries happen all of the time, but it is the way that they are handled that will determine the mood and environment of the workplace. The injured person has every right to be properly compensated, but it is also their responsibility to take the necessary steps to protect work relationships. By being honest, discrete, understanding, and determined to remain a team player, work relationships should remain unscathed.

Be Honest

An injury on the job is a sensitive subject for everyone involved. Managers must ensure the safety of their employees, so when someone gets hurt people start looking to them for reasons why. If all parties are honest with the situation and can clearly find the cause of injury, relationships should stay strong. If the injury was caused because the employee was not paying proper attention to the situation, then that employee should be honest about their improper behavior. If the employee was injured because of an error on the part of a coworker or manager, then it is the injured parties responsibility to express this error in an honest and professional way. While stating the cause of the injury, it is very important to avoid attacking anyone's character or job performance.

Use Discretion

Sometimes injuries may be unknown to other workers in the environment. Regardless of who was at fault for the injury, it is important to use discretion during the investigation process. If a third employee is to blame for the injury, it would be very unprofessional to tell all of the other people in the workplace. Only the managers, employees, and union representatives (if applicable) involved need to know the details of the incident. It is possible that the management team may decide to create a system to avoid future accidents of the same sort. If the manager wants to inform other employees of the accident as a means of protecting them from being injured, that is their responsibility. Gossip and rumors will only harm work relationships.

Remain a Team Player

Remaining a team player means not milking an injury. It is simple really. As soon as the injured person is feeling better and has been cleared by a doctor, they should be back at work helping the rest of their team. Injured employees must understand that their job injury affects the employees around them; sometimes in a negative way. Other employees may be required to take on extra tasks as a result of the injury. The frustrations and problems other employees are facing are real and must be discussed and dealt with. Perhaps the uninjured employees have been given the responsibility of lifting heavy objects that had previously been handled by the injured employee, and now have no time to fill out necessary paperwork. The injured employee could take on some of the less-physical activities in an attempt to lighten the load for everyone around them. Being a team player is the best way to make sure work relationships remain positive.