May 23, 2002

REPORTING WORK RELATED ILLNESS AND ACCIDENTS

If you feel that you have experience an injury or illness from work, the following points should be taken into account when reporting any injury or illness, which may be work - related.

Every injury and illness at work must be reported to the Employer in a timely fashion. Report each and every event to a Supervisor with a Shop Steward, First Aid Attendant or other reliable witness present. If you do not have a witness available, notify your Supervisor immediately, and then notify a witness at the first opportunity. If the injury or illness is a gradual onset injury or illness, be prepared to explain the reasons for your reporting it when you did. The time limit for reporting a work related injury or illness is six months, but even a brief delay in reporting may jeopardize a case in certain circumstances. Many WSIB claims are denied for late reporting, where am employee indicates they recall an event and tried to work through it, it didn’t get better, and then reported it. If you require first aid, like a band-aid, ensure it is recorded in the Station First Aid Book.

Make sure that you make detailed notes of the times and dates of the incidents, the witnesses, any conversations with the employer or other workers. Keep all your notes and documentation incase they are needed in the future. It is important that the WSIB Form 7 and SAIR be completed accurately and lists all areas of injury. Many claims are denied because the specific area of injury was not described on the forms. The Local only receives copies of the WSIB Form 7 and SAIR. The Local is not informed of the out come of your claim and if it has to be appealed.

Contact your physician immediately to arrange an appointment at the earliest available time. If you require immediate medical attention, visit a walk - in clinic or emergency ward, then follow up with your regular physician at the earliest opportunity. This applies to all injuries that cause a loss of wages, reoccurrences or modified duties.

The employer is required to conduct the accident investigation in the presence of a Shop Steward and to fill out a Supervisor's Accident Investigation Report (SAIR) and an Employer's Report of Accident (WSIB Form 7). This should be completed the same day, by law it must be completed in three business days. When the employee is not at work, when necessary, a conference call between the injured worker, Shop Steward and Supervisor is acceptable form of investigation.

The Shop Steward should sign the SAIR so that the Scarborough Local will be able to confirm that a Shop Steward was present at the investigation. This does not imply that the Shop Steward is in agreement with the information on the SAIR. The Shop Steward should not sign the form if they were not present for the investigation. The investigation should be redone in the presence of the Shop Steward.

The injured worker should sign the Form 7, depending on the version of the form; there are several in use. Again, this does not imply agreement with the information recorded, but authorizes a claim for benefits and the necessary release of information from the treating physician to the injured worker, the employer and the WSIB pertaining to functional abilities. Further to the above reports, the Shop Steward should fill out a CUPW Accident Investigation Form at the time of the investigation and file it promptly with the Scarborough Local.

If you are in disagreement with any of the information on the SAIR or Form 7, immediately write a letter to the WSIB and explain the matters in dispute. The address is:

               Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB)

               200 Front Street West

               Toronto, Ontario M5V 3J1

Whenever your receive medical attention for a condition which may be work related, ensure that the treating physician files a Physician's Report of Accident (Form 8) with the WSIB. Once you have chosen a physician, other than temporary and immediate medical attention, do not attempt to change your physician without getting permission from the Board. It is important that you not give the appearance of "doctor shopping". The general physician can refer you to a physiotherapist or specialist, and it is particularly important that he or she do so if the injury is a repetitive strain injury or other soft tissue injury. The Board may not cover visits to a physiotherapist and a massage therapist during the same period.

The Board will send the injured worker an Employee's Report of Accident (Form 6). The injured worker may elect to seek guidance from a Union representative trained in matters of Workers' Compensation prior to filling out the Form 6. Nevertheless, it is advisable to fill out the Form 6 in a timely manner.

In the case of any lost time due to a work-related injury or illness, discuss any and all offers of modified duties with your physician. The Board will only approve lost time if there is no reasonable offer of suitable work. The Board will investigate the medical reasons why your doctor decided that the work offer was not suitable and the Board's medical advisor will make a decision as to whether or not the lost time was justified. Demand that any offer of modified duties be put in writing and detailing the duties and review it carefully with your physician. In matters of lost time, it is especially advisable to seek advice from a Union representative who understands Board policies.

Any dispute with a decision of the WSIB and / or Canada Post regarding a return to work plan must be reported to the WSIB within thirty days. Remember that you have the right to refuse unsafe work. Nevertheless, consult your physician with regard to changing your work plan at the first opportunity. You generally have six months to appeal other WSIB decisions.

Accommodation of injured workers is a matter for consultation requiring the involvement of an Executive Officer of the Local. This includes modified duties longer than one week or permanent placements. Discussions of the Fitness Assessment Form, work - hardening programs, and meetings with the Nurse can be done with a Shop Steward or Executive Officer depending on the individual circumstances of each case.

(This bulletin was adapted from a London Local Bulletin) 

In Solidarity

Mike Duquette
President
Scarborough Local