Winter Hazards

January 10, 2019

Outdoor workers must be especially careful during the winter season, when they face additional weather hazards such as cold stress and icy road conditions. According to a National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) study, winter cold kills twice as many people in the U.S. as summer heat – approximately 63 percent from exposure to extreme cold as compared to 31 percent from exposure to excessive natural heat. Some of the most common types of injuries associated with winter hazards include:

Slips, Trips, and Falls

The National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) reports that slip, trip, and fall accidents are the most common injury for workers’ compensation claims, causing over one million people to visit the emergency room each year.

To prevent such accidents, workers are advised to wear proper footwear with rubber treads and exercise caution when walking on slippery surfaces. Also, employers should implement safety measures, such as clearing and de-icing walking surfaces.

Hypothermia and Frostbite

Exposure to the cold for extended periods of time can cause workers to suffer injuries due to cold stress. Hypothermia occurs when the body’s internal temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit, impeding the proper performance of the nervous system and other organs. Frostbite is tissue damage due to the cold that usually affects the extremities and may require amputation in extreme cases.

To prevent these cold weather injuries, workers should take breaks from the cold and wear weather-appropriate clothes and shoes.

Car Accident Injuries

Truckers, delivery drivers, and construction workers are at increased risk of being injured in a motor vehicle accident. Icy roads and decreased visibility are some of the winter hazards that may cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles. This can be especially dangerous for workers on the roads. Work zones should therefore be properly set up to protect them. Employers should also ensure that all vehicles are properly serviced for winter driving to reduce the risk of accidents.

Traumatic Injuries

Struck-by accidents are a leading cause of workplace death in the construction industry, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). During the winter, roofers and other construction workers are at increased risk of suffering traumatic injuries from falling objects such as ice, chunks of snow, and trees. Workers should wear and use proper personal protective equipment (PPE), including eye, head, and fall protection.

Electrical Injuries

Downed or damaged power lines from winter storms or improperly grounded equipment may cause workers to suffer electrical shock, electrocution, or burns from electrical fires. Electrical linemen should take extra precaution when working around power lines to avoid electrocution and other electrical injuries. Employers must also ensure that snow blowers and other powered equipment is guarded and maintained in accordance with lockout/tagout best practices.

Reading Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Help Workers Injured by Winter Hazards

If you were injured on the job due to a winter hazard, contact a Reading workers’ compensation lawyer at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Our skilled lawyers can help you get benefits to compensate for the costs of your workplace injury. For a free consultation, please complete our online contact form or call us at 888-PITT-LAW today.

We proudly represent injured workers in Berks CountyBucks CountyChester CountyDelaware CountyMontgomery CountyPhiladelphia County and throughout Pennsylvania, including those in the communities of AbingtonAmblerArdmoreBala CynwydBensalemClifton HeightsCrum Lynne, DarbyDowningtownDoylestownDrexel HillEssington, FolcroftGlenoldenHaverfordHavertownHolmesKutztown, Lansdowne, Media, Merion StationMorton, Narberth, Norristown, NorwoodPhiladelphiaProspect Park, QuakertownReadingRoxboroughSharon HillUpper Darby, West Chester and Wynnewood.