The weather is about to take that nasty turn toward ice and snow. With winter weather comes many potential hazards, especially in the workplace. From slips and falls to exposure to biting wind chill temperatures, there are all kinds of ways to get injured in the workplace at this time of year. Be aware, and you can save yourself and your co-workers a lot of hardship this season.
Ice, Ice Maybe
In 2015, “falls on same level” were the third most common cause of workers’ compensation injury claims, according to the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Annual Report. In the winter, with ice and snow on the ground around work locations, slips and falls are unfortunately common and can lead to fractures, concussions, and dislocations.
To keep a workplace safe from falls in winter conditions, you should clear and salt walkways to prevent ice from building up. Employees that must cross potentially slick areas should walk mindfully and wear appropriate footwear with plenty of grip. You can place mats at entrances so anyone coming in can wipe off their shoes rather than tracking in snow which can make floors slippery.
Employees that are exposed to low temperatures and especially wind chill can be in danger of what is called “cold stress.” Cold stress can take the form of injuries such as trench foot, frostbite, and hypothermia. These injuries are potentially permanent and debilitating, in severe cases even requiring amputation.
Employees that can expect to deal with it should be trained to recognize the effects of various forms of cold stress. They should have resources available to provide basic first aid until medical assistance arrives. Workers should also know how to calculate wind chill and be able to determine whether conditions are safe.
OSHA requires employers to provide necessary protection from recognized hazards, including winter weather conditions. If you are injured at work this winter due to a slip and fall or exposure to low temperatures, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. If that’s the case, you need an attorney that specialized in workers’ compensation cases. Dugan & Associates provide decades of legal expertise. If you have questions, contact us for a free consultation.