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  1. #1
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    Millennial-with-job problems

    So I've been at my First Real Job (retail) for just over thirteen months now, and today received my first official Workplace Injury, falling off a ladder and twisting my ankle. The manager sent me home with a free ankle brace and orders to rest up and see how it feels when my next shift starts tonight, and if it looks like I shouldn't work to file an official injury report then.

    My team is currently woefully overworked and understaffed, and on top of that our direct supervisor recently transferred to a different store, so we are currently without an official supervisor. (The next guy up the chain is giving us orders for the moment.) I'm officially the second-most junior member of the team, but the best at deciphering the paperwork and figuring out which codes mean which fixtures.

    On the one hand, I honestly love my job and worry about leaving the other guys in the lurch at a time like this. On the other hand, my right anklebone is swelling larger by the minute, and the job involves a ton of walking around the store.

    Advice from more experienced folks would be appreciated, but so would commiseration. Or designs to jerry-rig a leg sling out of keystraps.

  2. #2
    Forum Member Saltgirl's Avatar
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    Can you walk on your ankle/put weight on it? I am not a medical person but I am an HR person. If you need medical care like an x-ray to make sure it is not fractured and you want it paid for by the company you do need to file a workers comp claim. Also, if you need to take time off because you can't perform your job or you need a job accommodation where you perform seated work until you are healed.

    Keeping in good with the overworked co-workers is never worth your health.

    Here is the link to the state of California Workers Comp site.

    https://www.dir.ca.gov/InjuredWorker...Guidebook.html

    And now the mom in me is going to tell you ice it, compress it, elevate it.

    Good luck

  3. #3
    Forum Member Muni_Jedi's Avatar
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    Always file an injury report. You never know what might crop up in the future with an injury and if your job is physical rushing back may exacerbate the injury and having a record of the original event will be important. Your boss is covering his ass by putting off the paperwork.

  4. #4
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    Cary, I'm sorry about your ankle injury! It's wonderful that you're thinking of your co-workers and workplace, but I'd say your #1 priority right now should be healing and taking care of yourself. I'm also quite honored that you thought to ask all of us our advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cary View Post
    Advice from more experienced folks would be appreciated, but so would commiseration. Or designs to jerry-rig a leg sling out of keystraps.
    Smilie Note, though, in all seriousness: we can't provide medical/legal/etc. advice on the Forums. And definitely don't jerry-rig Key Strap slings!
    Have a question? @Darcy (to make sure I see it)

    Current carry: testing new potential materials in the form of Original Large Shop Bags.

  5. #5
    Forum Member flaneuse's Avatar
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    I hope it heals up quickly. I'd probably get it checked out. My sister broke her ankle in her 20s simply by mis-stepping a curb and it turned into surgery and months of recuperation and messed up her senior year of college. I hope that is not the case for you, but better to get it checked out if it is still swelling.

  6. #6
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    I’ve worked in Occupational Health & safety for a several years. The first thing you need to do is report the accident to the HR Department and ask to see the company doctor. They are supposed to have the name of the Doctor posted in an area accessible to all employees. Your employer is liable for your medical bills, but you have to do your part by reporting the injury, seeing the doctor and following their orders.

    It’s possible that the person that advised you wasn’t properly trained or that the company hopes to avoid recording this in their injury log which may be available to OSHA. Companies with excessive injuries may have to pay fines or implement workplace changes, so often they try to keep things off the log.

  7. #7
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    (Note in case of time confusion: I work overnights, 10:30PM - 7AM, although today I stayed a little late. The fall happened around 5:45 AM today.)

    After a round of Advil and a nap propped up on pillows, it is (surprise!) still swollen. Probably not going to work tonight. For lack of a better idea I'm taking photos (yes, like you do after a fender bender). My phone timestamps things and I have a visible tattoo on that ankle, so that's good?

    At the time it happened I was feeling silly even thinking of it as an "injury" - very much in the "rub some dirt on it and get back to business" school of personal healthcare - but no, this is swollen and hurts like h*ll. A coworker witnessed it happen and of course there's the store security cameras. But even if they decide not to cover treatment, Medi-Cal officially starts covering me today. And a doctor will probably also say "yeah, it's sprained, rest-ice-compression-elevation", which I already know.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saltgirl View Post
    Can you walk on your ankle/put weight on it? I am not a medical person but I am an HR person. If you need medical care like an x-ray to make sure it is not fractured and you want it paid for by the company you do need to file a workers comp claim. Also, if you need to take time off because you can't perform your job or you need a job accommodation where you perform seated work until you are healed.
    Thanks for the link, I'll keep that handy when I go to file the report tonight. It's probably not fractured, I can move all my toes just fine, but putting weight on it sucks, and after getting home this morning I don't even want to think about walking up and down stairs anymore.

    And now the mom in me is going to tell you ice it, compress it, elevate it.
    My mom did the same! I don't like to worry her too much, being three thousand miles away and all, but I let her know and she gave her own administrative experience advice, which sounds a lot like all of you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Muni_Jedi View Post
    Your boss is covering his ass by putting off the paperwork.
    I figured she was, but I also know I've twisted ankles and been tender for a day, but by the next morning they were fine. Those usually don't come with significant swelling, though, so I'm probably gonna take at least a day or two off.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darcy View Post
    Smilie Note, though, in all seriousness: we can't provide medical/legal/etc. advice on the Forums. And definitely don't jerry-rig Key Strap slings!
    Aww, no fun ;P Yeah, I solemnly swear not to use anything I read from strangers on the internet as official legal or medical advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by flaneuse View Post
    I hope it heals up quickly. I'd probably get it checked out. My sister broke her ankle in her 20s simply by mis-stepping a curb and it turned into surgery and months of recuperation and messed up her senior year of college. I hope that is not the case for you, but better to get it checked out if it is still swelling.
    I subluxed (minor dislocation) my knee while running on a gentle gravel path in broad daylight last year, and wound up in physical therapy for three months. On the same side, no less, so now I'm just generally wobbly in the right leg. (I was working dayside at the time, and even though it wasn't at work my HR person was super great about putting me on a chair at a register instead. Was earning money to move out here to CA at the time.)

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by BarryLee View Post
    Iíve worked in Occupational Health & safety for a several years. The first thing you need to do is report the accident to the HR Department and ask to see the company doctor. They are supposed to have the name of the Doctor posted in an area accessible to all employees. Your employer is liable for your medical bills, but you have to do your part by reporting the injury, seeing the doctor and following their orders.

    Itís possible that the person that advised you wasnít properly trained or that the company hopes to avoid recording this in their injury log which may be available to OSHA. Companies with excessive injuries may have to pay fines or implement workplace changes, so often they try to keep things off the log.
    The person I told was the manager of the store, so probably the latter. The workplace injury tally is in the team office next to the company doctor info, and I think we've been rated green the last few months. But there was a spectacular hand injury a few weeks ago, also involving my team, so that might change.

    Anyway, I told the manager, in front of other coworkers, and she officially requisitioned out the brace for me then and there, so she can't play like she didn't know about it when it happened. And I'll file the official report tonight.

  9. #9
    Forum Member Melissa's Avatar
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    I worked HR for an orthopedic surgery practice here in California, so here is my 2 cents worth.....

    1. You need to file an injury report, regardless if you seek treatment immediately after injury. Your employer must provide you with a DWC-1 form which you sign (a copy) acknowledging receipt of that form. The DWC-1 notifies you of your rights (and responsibilities). It provides basic information to your employer regarding your injury and helps protect you rights as an injured worker. Most employers require this within 24 hours of an injury.

    2. You need to have your ankle seen by a medical professional. A broken bone can take 3-6 weeks to heal; a serous sprain can take 3 MONTHS to heal. Furthermore, depending on the diagnosis, you might have to be non-weight bearing, meaning no weight on the injured foot. Other injuries may require physical therapy sooner, rather than later to avoid further problems.

    ETA the use of portable ladders is regulated by the State of California Department of Industrial Regulations....this is something that should be covered in your Injury and Illness Prevention Plan/Program which should have been issued to you during your new-hire orientation.

    I hope you are feeling better again soon! The mom in me also says to ice, compress, elevate (and elevate means above your heart, so get comfy in a recliner! Be sure to let know how you are doing. Smilie
    Last edited by Melissa; 02-01-2016 at 07:32 PM.
    🐝➰

  10. #10
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    I manage employees in an organization that takes safety and injuries very seriously, and is based in California. First, you need to fill out the accident report immediately. Call up the store manager, and ask that he complete it with you on the phone, or go into the store. Second, if it still hurts, you need to ask what the process is for treating the injury. The manager should know this. If he doesn't, ask for their Human Resources person. For instance, unless it is an emergency, my staff need to inform me or our health management service before seeking medical treatment. (I didn't make this rule, the company does). Typically, private health insurance companies (Blue Cross, etc) do not cover occupational injuries: that is your employer's responsibility. I would bet Medi-cal won't cover it either. [There is an exception, but it's pretty rare, and likely wouldn't apply to a retailer].

  11. #11
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    I filled out the report and had a phone call with the company medical group, who basically instructed "keep doing what you're doing and call back if it's not better in a day or two", which we expected. The manager I spoke to this morning wasn't on duty anymore, but I definitely don't fault her for advising I wait on the report, there was really no way to tell how bad it would be that soon. The manager-on-duty and HR team member were both very helpful in getting it all written down.

    Funny story: when I said what happened everyone in the HR office groaned. Apparently there's a new training protocol for ladder safety, starting today, and they're getting everyone who sits down for five minutes to read through it. I'm a cautionary tale!

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