Unfortunately, it was not in a pool. It was in the middle of the street.
But it’s what happened AFTER that unfortunate fall, that I find most compelling.
Let me first say, however, that I’m FINE. Really, I’m fine. I’ve said that over and over the last 24 hours but really, well, you get the point.
The incident itself was a classic case of just a plain old accident. I was crossing the street on my way to lunch and didn’t happen to notice the pothole, ditch, depression, or whatever you want to call it in the street.
My ankle turned, I lost my balance, thought I regained it, then realized I hadn’t, and came crashing down mostly (and thankfully) on my hand, shoulder and knee.
End result: A scratched up hand, a bruised shoulder, broken glasses, wrecked suit. But fortunately no broken bones or anything of the sort. No need for ambulances, hospitals, or taxi-rides home.
It happened to be right outside my work so I got up to get out of the road, took quick stock of myself, and walked (limped?) back inside to find the first aid kit.
In a bit of luck, I also ran into one of our office staff who mobilized our internal first aid health/safety team. Turns out, they are always ready for this.
Within minutes, I had an ice pack, bandages, and a chair. Someone else offered to return a call for me for an upcoming appointment. And 30 minutes later, there were still others who stopped by to see how I was doing and encouraged me to recuperate at home. (Advice taken.)
Here’s what I didn’t have: Endless questions about whether this was a “work-related” injury or what the “policy” was on these types of injuries.
Was it on a lunch break? Was it work-related? Those questions don’t really matter in the moment.
Indeed, this wasn’t the first time I’ve seen our health and safety team in action; a year ago, a colleague was choking on some food on my floor. The alerts came fast and furious and they sprung into action — without thinking.
And so, out of a spectacular dive comes your employment law tip of the day:
Your policies are important.
But the way you treat your employees and how your employees treat each other are even more important. Train those employees to do the “right thing” in the moment and you’ll get glowing returns in spades. Having a health/safety team for these types of matters is a crucial, and overlooked part of your company.
Policies are helpful in dealing with the unknowns. But building your company’s culture so that your employees act instinctively, is far more important in the long run.
Your company will have someone like me who just trips and falls, or maybe they’ll be choking, or perhaps something even worse; what you do next will be important to who you are as a company.
And so today, I’m back at work, a little sore, a little bandaged up on my hand.
But thankful, I work at a place that puts its people first.