Working in the elements has special risks during every season, but Massachusetts winters can be especially challenging. If you work outside for at least part of the day, it’s crucial to utilize safe practices at all times. The information below addresses some of the most common winter weather-related work injuries and how to avoid them. If you’ve been injured in a work-related accident, it’s important that you know what benefits that are available to you immediately and in the long term.
Slip and Fall Accidents
When ice, snow, and freezing rain are a daily occurrence, it’s especially important to take precautions in the workplace. In addition to slippery walkways and parking lots outside, workers can track snow and slush into buildings, resulting in indoor puddles and the potential for slip and fall accidents. Follow the steps below to reduce the risk of weather-related falls at work:
- Put salt on icy walkways and parking lots and keep them as clear of snow as possible.
- Inside each doorway, place a non-skid mat to absorb excess snow and slush.
- When any area becomes slippery – whether inside due to tracked snow or a spill, or outside due to ice or slush – place cones around the hazardous area.
Whether they are due to excessive shoveling, lifting heavy construction equipment, or slipping on an icy or wet surface, back injuries are common among workers who are forced to brave the winter elements. The most common winter weather-related back injuries include sprains and strains, fractures, overexertion injuries, and lacerations. To reduce the risk of back injuries at work, follow the tips below:
- Take frequent breaks when shoveling or lifting heavy objects on the job.
- Stretch for several minutes to warm up your muscles.
- Employers should provide shovels specially designed to reduce back strain.
Cold Weather-Related Injuries
Being outside in below freezing temperatures for extended periods of time can result in serious – even fatal – complications. Hypothermia, frostbite, and cold stress can wreak havoc on the healthiest, toughest workers. Dampness and wind can amplify the dangerous effects of cold weather, and it doesn’t even have to be freezing outside; frostbite and hypothermia can sneak up on you. To prevent dangerous cold weather-related conditions:
- All workers should be trained on how to protect themselves from temperature-related injuries.
- When temperatures are low, workers should take frequent breaks in a warm environment to get their internal temperature back to normal.
- Workers should drink warm drinks throughout the day, such as hot tea, coffee, or hot apple cider.
Work injuries are an unfortunate reality, but we can take steps to dramatically reduce our risk of serious injuries and death on the job. Although all jobs carry some risk, certain occupations – such as construction and roofing, farming and logging, corrections and law enforcement – carry a disproportionately higher risk. In 2015, there were nearly three million reported nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you have been injured at work, contact a MA workers’ compensation lawyer today.
Altman & Altman, LLP – MA Work Injury Lawyers
If you have been injured on the job, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We will analyze the details of your case to determine the best legal strategy for moving forward. Workers’ compensation exists to provide a percentage of lost income if a worker is unable to perform his or her job duties due to a work-related injury. The process to obtain these benefits, however, can be extremely complex. Application errors and missing information can result in delayed or reduced benefits. By working with a skilled workers’ comp attorney, you can ensure full benefits in a timely manner. And if negligence was a factor, you may be entitled to additional compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.