Working in the maritime industry, you know that you must respect the risks that come along with it. Accidents happen. Serious injuries occur on the job. You've even known people who got involved in fatal injuries, or you've at least heard the stories.
That doesn't scare you off. It's rewarding work and you love your career. But it means you respect the job, the machinery and the sea itself. You try to work safely whenever possible. You don't take chances. You don't take risks.
Unfortunately, that does not mean you can always avoid injury. All it takes is one negligent mistake by a co-worker or a supervisor, and you could find yourself in the hospital.
If this happens, it's very important to know how to proceed. Here are four common mistakes you want to avoid:
1. Not acting quickly
Those first 24 hours are critical. You must act quickly. Do not put this off. Do not ignore your options. Obviously, the fact that you got hurt can slow this process down. Just act as quickly as possible once you feel well enough to do so. File the proper reports with your employer. Document everything. Get the process started.
2. Not knowing your company's response plan
Your company should have a response plan already laid out. Look it over in advance. Make sure you know exactly what steps to take. Don't wait until the medical bills come in to read that employee handbook. Make sure you know whom to tell about the injury, when to make the report, which medical providers to use, what paperwork and incident reports your employer requires and all the rest.
3. Not meeting with a medical professional as soon as possible
This cannot be overstated. You need those medical records. Getting them right away helps doctors assess exactly how the injury occurred and the full scope of that injury. In addition, seeking treatment right away prevents the company from claiming you went home, got hurt and then said it happened on the job. You must closely tie your injury to the workplace incident. It's often best to call 911. Never try to tough it out.
4. Forgetting the long-term costs
Remember, this injury could cost more than your initial medical bills. Do you need future treatments? Do you need therapy? Will you have a lasting deformity or need any sort of life-long assistance and support? Is this going to change your career or make it harder for you to work? The costs could stretch on for weeks, months, years or even the rest of your life.
Above all else, just remember your rights as a maritime worker and make sure you know what steps to take.