Winter Work Accidents
Slip and fall accidents are one of the leading causes of workplace injuries. Winter can increase the number of these accidents.
Falling snow can reduce visibility and ice can build up on stairs, walkways, and loading docks – creating hazardous conditions for workers.
It’s important to be extra careful in your workplace, especially if you work outside, during this time of year.
Ice, Ice Baby
Even after a good plowing and salting/sanding, parking lots and sidewalks should be approached with caution. Water (from fog, dew, water vapor) can freeze on cold surfaces, creating an almost invisible layer of ice.
Your employer should take the appropriate steps to ensure the workplace is safe for you and other employees. They should have a plan to deal with winter conditions. Talk to your employer to ensure that your workplace is stocked with snow blowers, shovels, ice melt, rock salt, and sand and that these items are being utilized by the company when the snow hits.
OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) suggests that employers place floor mats and area rugs near doorways to prevent slips on uncarpeted surfaces. OSHA also suggests to keep a mop and bucket nearby to clean up melting snow that people bring in off of their shoes, clothing, and equipment.
Speaking of shoes, boots and other shoes with thermoplastic rubber soles are ideal for working in winter weather conditions. If ice is a problem around your work area, consider investing (or asking your employer to invest) in ice cleats for extra traction.
Regardless of how prepared you may be for winter, accidents happen. But there are ways you can try and prevent excessive injury to yourself and others.
- Be prepared to fall. Avoid using your arms to break your fall, as this can cause further injury. If you fall back, try to tuck your chin into your chest so your head doesn’t hit the ground with as much force.
- When entering your workplace from being outdoors, try to remove as much snow and water from your boots/shoes as possible to help prevent slippery conditions for you and your coworkers
- Be careful when entering and exiting work vehicles and crossing parking lots
- Bend your knees a little extra and take slow, short steps when walking. This can increase your traction and reduce your chances of slipping and falling.
If you’ve been injured because of a negligent employer (who didn’t provide you with a safe workplace), don’t hesitate to seek help. Contact The Clardy Law Firm for help with your workers’ compensation case.