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An occupational health clinic is a medical facility that specifically treats work-related injuries or incidents and helps companies conduct pre-employment drug screenings and random drug testing. Unlike hospitals and private clinics, an occupational health clinic is used to working only with employers and has specific knowledge of worker’s compensation benefits. That is not to say that an injured worker could not seek medical attention from a private facility and still receive worker’s compensation benefits, but an occupational health clinic typically does not deal with private insurance companies.
When a worker is injured on the job, there is usually a protocol that must be followed in order for worker’s compensation to be provided. Many companies require an injury report and follow-up from an occupational health clinic before they will sign off on benefits. Though an occupational health clinic does not treat life-threatening emergencies,such as a heart attack, most are equipped to treat common workplace injuries.
An occupational health clinic employs doctors, x-ray technicians, nurses, and medical assistants, as well as other types of medical professionals. Depending on the clinic, they may treat lacerations, broken bones, eye injuries, pulled muscles, and other common work-related injuries. They may also be equipped to provide physical or occupational therapy for injuries, and they will most certainly be able to refer workers to other specialists who deal directly with worker's compensation.
In addition to providing medical treatment for workplace injuries, an occupational health clinic will also assist employers with employee drug screening. Many companies require a pre-employment drug test, and also perform random drug testing as a condition for continued employment. High-risk fields such as construction are well-known for routine drug testing. Occupational health clinics will arrange for and collect urine, blood or hair samples for testing according to employers’ requests. Many times a drug and alcohol screening are required at the time of treatment for an injury to fulfill worker’s compensation benefit claim requirements.
Though an employee who suffers a workplace injury requiring immediate attention will often be directed to a local occupational health clinic, employees should know and understand worker’s compensation before filing an injury claim and seeking treatment. In some cases, a claim may not be allowed if initial treatment was not received at an approved occupational health clinic. If you suffer a workplace injury, be sure to check with your supervisor about worker’s compensation policy. By not following company procedure, you could compromise any benefits you might be entitled to for treatment, including short or long-term disability benefits if your company provides them.