Workplace accidents, including slip and fall accidents, increase during the winter months. Exposure to cold temperatures at work and icy sidewalks are common in cold weather climates. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 20,000 workplace injuries related to snow, ice, and sleet in 2017. 14% of these injuries happened in New York state during the winter. Employees who work outdoors in agriculture, fishing, construction, recreation, and first responders were the most likely to suffer personal injuries due to cold weather.
Slip and Fall Accidents are More Common in Winter
The study found that slip and fall injuries accounted for 20% of all workplace injuries. Slip and fall injuries also account for 15% of all accidental, occupational deaths, second to motor vehicle accidents. Freezing weather conditions contribute to the likelihood that workers will slip and fall, especially workers who work outside. Workers are more likely to slip on icy pavement or become involved in machine accidents when they fail to function properly due to freezing temperatures.
Working From Elevated Heights in Winter
Working from scaffolding, rooftops, or while on ladders is always somewhat dangerous. However, working in these conditions during winter weather conditions can increase the incidence of personal injury accidents and death. When someone is working on a snow-covered rooftop, they may not see electrical dangers from power lines or skylights that they could fall through because of the heavy piles of snow. Falls continue to be the leading cause of death in the construction industry, and the likelihood of slipping on a wet or snow-filled roof or scaffold is even higher during the winter months.
Tips for Preventing Winter Personal Injury Accidents
Employers have a duty to protect their employees against unreasonable dangers, including dangerous conditions caused by winter weather. Employers should train their supervisors and employees to identify, prevent, and adequately address injuries and illnesses related to cold weather. Managers should create plans to address the most common workplace hazards resulting from low temperatures, wind advisories, and snowstorms. They should plan to reduce the amount of time their employees are exposed to freezing temperatures by scheduling work during the warmest part of the day.
Employers should also frequently clear ice and snow from all surfaces on which employees will walk. If employers cannot immediately clear ice from walking past, they need to put up signs that will warn employees, so they do not slip and fall on icy surfaces. When employees need to go up on roofs or scaffolds, employers should make sure that the surfaces are clear of snow and ice. They should only allow employees with enough experience working in winter conditions to work on high surfaces safely. They should also make sure that their employees are wearing proper footwear and clothing to protect themselves.
Contact a Skilled Personal Injury Lawyer
Have you or your loved ones suffered an injury from a winter weather-related workplace accident? If so, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact Pulvers Thompson today to schedule your initial consultation.