Workplace injuries happen year-round; however, winter weather and conditions make for a new set of challenges that can increase your chances of an injury. Being aware of these injuries and how to best protect yourself from them is crucial!
Slip and Falls
A slip and fall is one of the most common workplace injuries. The risk of falling is greatly increased with the presence of winter conditions, such as ice or snow. High winds and unsalted roads and sidewalks also heighten the risk of a fall. Falling may not seem like a big issue; however, a fall can cause some serious damage, such as a fracture, dislocations, or a head injury. Wearing proper winter footwear, like non-slip boots, can provide a more secure grip on the floor. Ensure that snow chunks are not stuck under your shoes. Snow chunks can turn any floor into a slippery one.
For workers who drive a vehicle for their job, the chances of getting into an accident are heightened in winter. Icy road conditions and poor visibility create dangerous situations for drivers, construction crews, and outdoor warehouses. Be sure to drive with caution and have the proper reflective equipment if working in construction. Remove snow and ice off your vehicle and equip your tires with snow chains, if needed, before driving.
If your job requires you to be outside during freezing conditions, be careful of hypothermia. Hypothermia occurs when your body temperature falls below 95 degrees due to extended expose to cold. Warning signs of hypothermia include shivering, impaired thinking, loss of dexterity, and increased breathing. If you must be outside in the winter weather, wear plenty of warm layers and stay dry.
An extended exposure to cold can also cause the tissue beneath the skin to freeze. Frostbite primarily affects the toes, fingers, ears, nose. The first signs of frostbite is numbness and cold skin. Prevent Frostbite by wearing warm clothes, staying hydrated, and limiting your time exposed to cold.
Workers that perform maintenance duties at their workplace are at a greater risk of back injury in the winter. Back sprains, herniated disks, and worse can result from shoveling snow, salting icy walkways and roads, and lifting heavy items. If you have to perform maintenance duties at your workplace, pay attention to posture and wear shoes with good support. Remove small amounts of snow while shoveling and carry small amounts of sand or salt instead of carrying large, heavy bags.
If you have experienced a winter workplace injury or are unsure if you need a lawyer, call our office today. We can help determine if you need a lawyer and how to best proceed with your case to get you the benefits you deserve.