Workers Compensation FAQ

Workers Compensation/Safety

  1. Who is required to have Workers’ Compensation coverage? In NC employers with three or more employees are required to carry coverage. This number does not include owners/partners.
  1. Who are ‘employees’ under NC Workers’ Compensation regulations?
  • Anyone compensated directly by your organization who is not correctly classified as an independent contractor. (Example: W2 employees, paid interns, and in North Carolina unpaid interns. Generally unpaid student interns performing non-manual labor are not covered under workers compensation).
  • Correct classification of employees/independent contractors/volunteers is very important.
  • If a volunteer is compensated in any way (housing, etc.) they may be covered. Volunteers are generally not covered otherwise.
  • Temporary agency employees are not covered; however, they need to be considered for OSHA logs.
  1. What is a work-related injury or illness? Contact your Workers Compensation Administrator before automatically ‘declining’ a case due to not being work-related. In some cases, even employees who are off the clock could experience a work-related injury.
  1. What kind of notification/training do I need to provide employees?
  • See the poster section for the posting that needs to be displayed to all employees (Workers Comp and OSHA notices).
  • Initial and ongoing safety training is helpful and should be recorded. It is required in certain cases under OSHA.
  • Employees should be notified clearly and trained in orientation on how to report an injury or illness. Late reporting can result in inability to research the incident properly, or an employee going to his/her doctor versus a workers’ compensation authorized health care provider.
  • Managers should be trained on reporting procedures.
  • Consistently discipline employees and supervisors who deliberately are unsafe or who do not follow work rules, including reporting incidents (make sure they are well trained first).
  1. What do I do when someone is injured?
  • The employee should be trained to immediately report the injury to a member of management.
  • The manager should complete a form of some kind – the Form 19 is the form which must be completed for the NC Industrial Commission; however, you should discuss other possible reporting methods with your Workers Compensation provider since often they will have a system for generating the Form 19. You (or your Workers Compensation Insurance Administrator) will be required to send the Form 19 to the Industrial Commission within 5 days of becoming aware of the injury in certain cases, so it is important to report the incident immediately.
  • You must send a copy of the form 19 and a blank form 18 to the employee.
  • Drug testing can be conducted if it is a part of the written procedures and is adhered to consistently.
  • If you have no separate safety/OSHA department, begin gathering evidence (witnesses/video) to help support or refute the employee’s claims.
  • If an employee dies or is hospitalized, other timely reporting responsibilities apply.
  • Record the information in your OSHA records clearly and keep them updated.
  1. What if the employee can’t return to work?
  • Modified “light” duty work should be offered if at all possible. Time away from work can affect your experience modification factor and being at the worksite helps the employee feel valued.
  • Plan on having the employee and supervisor sign off on light duty restrictions with details of what the employee will be doing on the job to comply with the restrictions.
  • In NC, after a waiting period, the employee will be paid by Worker’s Comp at 66 2/3% of their average weekly wages which is generally not taxable income. You will have to complete a Form 22 to assist your carrier in determining wages.
  • Time off from work will affect your experience modification rating more than a simple medical cost.
  • If the employee cannot return to work, immediately evaluate for FMLA or other types of leave in your organization. If you have no available leave for this employee, consider a leave accommodation under the ADA. Workers Compensation leaves can run concurrent with leave under the FMLA.
  • Terminating the employee due to “no leave available” before the case is settled and finalized could adversely affect the results. Time out of work for a terminated employee who is unemployed will generally continue to be paid by Workers Compensation.
  • Require your employee to send all relevant doctor’s notes regarding work restrictions or time off to you as well as to immediately update the carrier.
  1. What if the employee’s claim is denied?
  • Workers’ Compensation Benefits will stop at that time.
  • You will consider the employee’s leave or light duty under your other policies (FMLA/ADA, etc.) Short Term Disability may begin to cover denied claims.
  • You should take no adverse action against the employee, unless you have clear evidence of deception or fraud.
  1. What are my OSHA responsibilities relating to injuries?
  • OSHA standards are extensive. This guide only focuses on injury reporting.
  • OSHA 300 logs must be maintained for five years for each establishment, along with an OSHA 301 incident report form (or equivalent, such as the form 19); however, there are many exemptions from this requirement based on the NAICS code or your company size – see for exceptions.
  • If your company is required to report injuries on the OSHA 300 log, they should be recorded within seven calendar days. Minor ‘first aid’ injuries as defined by OSHA do not apply.
  • If classified as recordable, injuries to temporary employees and other outside employees who are under the direction/control of your company should be recorded in your OSHA logs, even if they are not covered by your Workers Compensation.
  • Employers must report worker fatalities within 8 hours and amputation, loss of an eye or hospitalization of a worker within 24 hours ( includes online and phone reporting methods.
  • Records must be maintained at the worksite for at least five years. In some cases, such as in the case of death or a hazardous material, the retention period could be longer.  (See record retention guidelines in this manual.)
  • Each February through April, employers must post a summary (form 300A) of the injuries and illnesses recorded the previous year. In general, there should be one posting per site even if no injuries occurred.  Records must be made available upon request to employees, ex-employees and their representatives.
  • Unless exempted from this duty based on the regulations, your organization must submit OSHA 300A records online annually.
  1. What does OSHA consider a recordable injury?
  • Injuries will be considered recordable if they meet the guidelines set out by the OSHA. Details are available at:
  • In general, minor first aid injuries which do not require prescription medications would not be recordable. (See full details at the link in the first bullet point, above.)
  • Injuries which require more than first aid and/or which require time away from work (other than the day of the injury) or modified duty are generally recordable.
  • Remember that Workers’ Compensation compensable injuries are not always OSHA recordable.
This document contains an “Workers Compensation” FAQ. Click the button link below to download this document.