What Went Hong: Early injury intervention
By James HongFeatures Business Intelligence
Injuries have the potential to become terrible physical hardships. Most guys I know don’t complain, they push through it for several reasons: peer pressure, when other teammates doing the same job aren’t complaining; inexperience; when a new worker doesn’t know any better; and a natural man stance – “I can do what is required!”
Unfortunately, pushing through, regardless of the reason, can end up causing a longer recovery, irreversible damage and/or a compromised ability to do the job. Early intervention for injuries can and does heal injuries faster, prevent ongoing damage and rehabilitating skeletal compromises.
It’s perfectly acceptable to report an injury on the job, even if small. Not only is it acceptable, it’s in the best interest of you and the company. Unreported injury claims can cost companies thousands in additional fines from authorities. Unreported and un-acknowledged injuries by workers cost the individual their ability to be productive on the job, which can in turn can cause a dismissal for poor performance, none of which contributes to a safe workplace.
There are protocols in place to protect workers in the case of reported injuries. The protocols can be found at Occupational Health and Safety provincial sites. There are also first aid recommendations to mitigate serious outcomes due to inattention to injury, as well as to speed up healing.
Here’s some advice on common minor injuries taken from a handout called, “At-Home and Return-to-Work Minor Wound Care.”
Let’s say you have an open wound. With proper care it should start to feel better in about three to four days. The healing process will be more effective if you follow this advice:
- Keep the dressing clean and dry
- If skin closures have been applied, they are to remain in place for seven to 10 days
- When bathing or showering, cover dressings to prevent moisture from entering
- You should notice some redness around the wound, which is part of the natural healing process
- You may also notice slight pain the day following the injury, this is also part of the natural healing process
- Report to first aid within 24 to 48 hours after the injury
If at any time you notice a significant increase in pain, redness or swelling, or if there is pus in the wound or red streaks extending from the wound, report to first aid who may refer you to medical aid. If the condition becomes significantly worse while you are not at work and you decide to seek medical aid, notify the attendant as soon as possible.
A sprain is stretching or a partial or complete tear of a ligament at a joint. With proper care, a mild strain should start to feel better in about three to four days.
- Whenever possible, elevate the limb
- Continue to apply cold for 20 minutes on, five minutes off
- Remove the crepe bandage for sleeping
- You may notice some pain the following day when bearing weight. With the crepe removed you may notice some increased swelling when the limb is not elevated
- Report to first aid at the start of your next shift. The first aid attendant will reassess and re-bandage if necessary
You may need to discuss altering work activity with your supervisor. If at any time you become unable to bear weight or the pain and swelling increase significantly, report to first aid, who may refer you to medical aid. If the condition becomes significantly worse while you are not at work and you decide to seek medical aid, notify the attendant as soon as possible.
The at-home and return-to-work minor wound care handout is an essential first aid safety tool to help workers heal quickly, which in turn contributes to a safe, productive work site.
Be well. Be safe.
James Hong is an OH&S consultant, independent writer and journalist.
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