What Is First Aid in Workers’ Compensation?

Why is my Employer calling my Work Injury Treatment First Aid?

First aid means any one-time treatment, and any follow up visit for the purpose of observation of minor scratches, cuts, burns, splinters, or other minor industrial injury, which do not ordinarily require medical care. This one-time treatment, and follow up visit for the purpose of observation, is considered First Aid even though provided by a physician or registered professional personnel.

For example, a worker drops a heavy box on his toe. The company’s occupational nurse puts ice on the toe and sends the worker home an hour early. The worker returns to work the next morning with no further problems.

Why does my Employer consider my Workers’ Compensation Treatment First Aid?

Under California’s Workers’ Compensation Law, an Employer is not required to provide a worker with a Claim Form or submit an Employer’s First Report when First Aid treatment is provided. However, a Physician rendering first aid treatment must submit a Doctor’s First Report to the employer’s claims administrator.  By your employer considering your injury as First Aid, this allows your Employer to not provide you a claim form and begin the process for you to obtain workers’ compensation benefits.   Further, your employer may benefit from your injury not being reported as it may affect their workers’ compensation premiums or their reserves. Therefore, it is possible that your legitimate injury may not be reported initially by your employer.

Further, according to OSHA, an occupational injury is any injury such as a cut, fracture, sprain or amputation that results from a single instantaneous exposure in the work environment. Minor injuries are defined as injuries requiring only first-aid treatment. Minor Injuries do not have to be recorded in OSHA loss. Therefore, with respect to OSHA Employer Safety Records, characterizing an injury as “first aid’ is advantageous as well.

What should I do if I received First Aid?

If you received First Aid, it is important that you save all of the documentation that you obtained from the treatment facility.   Also, maintain the names of the managers and co-workers who either witnessed the accident or to whom you reported the injury. It is recommended that you consult with an attorney to determine whether it is in your best interest to report the injury as a formal claim of injury.   This would be accomplished by submitting in a Workers’ Compensation Claim Form, also known as a DWC-1 Form.

With more than 25 years of expertise in defending workers’ rights, the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, A Professional Law Corporation, is here to assist. If you have any questions concerning your rights, please do not hesitate to contact our offices.  Please contact us today concerning any workers’ compensation questions or issues. You can reach Mr. Singer directly by calling or texting to 310-849-5679.