A co-worker falls off of an unstable ladder at work and lands on the concrete floor six feet below. It’s a relatively short fall and you know they’re not in significant danger, but everyone on the floor hears their leg snap as they hit the ground. You run over, knowing they have a broken bone and need assistance.
But what type of assistance should you provide?
First of all, try to get them stabilized and keep the leg still. Moving it just makes it worse and causes a lot of pain. Never let them stand up, even if they insist that it’s not that bad.
Next, put something under the leg, like a cushion or a pillow. On the job, something like a rolled up Carhartt jacket may work perfectly. You just want to keep the leg raised and provide some cushioning so that it’s not on the hard concrete floor.
After that, get ice and apply it to the injury. This can help reduce both the pain and the swelling.
This is the point when you’ll have to decide how to get them to a nearby medical center. Odds are that you can just call the nonemergency number and have an ambulance come pick them up. Stay with them and apply ice until it arrives.
However, if the bone snapped off and punctured through the skin so that there is bleeding or you can see the bone, then it’s a compound fracture. You need to call 911 to get assistance much faster. The same is true if the bone they broke was the thighbone running between the knee and the hip.
Maybe it’s not a co-worker who got hurt; perhaps you’re the one who suffered an on-the-job injury. If so, you need to know if you have a right to workers’ compensation.