Jonathan H. Poznansky, Attorney at Law

Winter raises special workplace safety issues

Wintertime brings with it some unique safety concerns. For example, there are special workplace safety risks that can arise in winter. It is important for workers and employers alike to be aware of these risks.

Today, we’ll go over some common safety hazards workers can face during the winter season and precautions that can be taken against these hazards.

  • Driving hazards: Winter can create challenging driving conditions. This can be of particular concern to individuals who have a job that involves driving. Things that can help with preventing work-related winter weather traffic accidents include drivers being properly trained for winter driving, companies having proper safe driving policies and companies making sure their vehicles are well-maintained and able to handle winter road conditions.
  • Slip-and-fall risks: Ice and snow can create slippery walking conditions for workers. So, it is important for companies to keep their outside walkways as clear of snow and ice as possible. Steps workers can take to protect themselves from outdoor slip-and-fall accidents during the winter include using a slower walking pace, taking short steps and choosing footwear well-suited to handling snowy and icy conditions.
  • Snow clearing hazards: Some workers have snow clearing duties during the winter. There are many types of accidents that could happen in connection to snow removal. Examples include shoveling injuries, problems with snow clearing equipment, electrical mishaps and falls (including falls from heights). Workers being properly trained and being provided appropriate equipment and safety gear can go a long way in helping prevent such accidents.
  • Cold stress risks: The cold temperatures of the winter season can create safety risks for outdoor workers. Such temperatures can lead to workers suffering cold stress injuries or illnesses. Things that can help with cold stress prevention for outdoor workers include: winter weather safety training, heaters, proper winter clothing, regular breaks in warm areas, warm and sweet beverages and proper monitoring of the physical condition of workers. It is also important for employers to monitor weather conditions and modify their plans for their workers accordingly.

When winter safety hazards lead to workers suffering injuries on the job, how workers respond to any problems or issues that arise in relation to getting fair workers’ comp benefits can have impacts long into their future. So, when such problems or issues arise, getting legal guidance on how to proceed can be important.

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