How to Prepare for Winter Workplace Hazards
As winter rolls in, we feel relieved of saying goodbye to the heat. On the other hand, depending on what part of the country you live, a lot of your days might be snowed in. Not only does this pose a challenge for day to day life, but it also creates issues while commuting to work and also for people who’ve got to work outdoors.
The first snowfall is always something people are not so mindful of. Most people forget to slow down, and as a result, their vehicle skids trying to maneuver around the ice on the road. Brakes might not engage as easily as when the conditions were dry. At workplaces, there are multiple cases of slips and falls because of slipping on ice on the steps that was either not cleaned, or there weren’t any signs. Slips and falls account for the highest work injuries. Most workers who are hurt on the job employ the services of a work injury lawyer to get the best representation for their case.
To keep a workforce healthy and injury free, workplaces should think ahead and prepare beforehand. It helps in keeping workers aware of the hazards that come with the onset of winter. Here’s a list of things to keep in mind while putting together a safety checklist for a workforce when winter is just around the corner:
Safety While Driving: No matter whether you are driving to work or driving on the job, winter can add to your worries and you’ll need to be extra cautious. From vehicles not starting up, car breakdowns on remote highways, and ice covered roads, you should keep yourself prepared for emergencies.
It’s always a good idea to take your vehicle for a thorough winter check before the start of the season. Also, make sure the wiper fluids are undiluted; otherwise, they could freeze. It’s a good practice to keep a set of a scraper, a snow brush, and shovel with some antifreeze fluids. A winter survival kit might also be a good thing to invest in if your area has received heavy snow in the past.
Make sure your vehicle’s tailpipe isn’t clogged and also DO NOT keep the heater on for extended periods of time with all of your windows rolled up. Apart from that, make sure to check out the weather and road conditions on your local news channels before you head out.
Ongoing Safety Training At Work: There is a multitude of things that people need to be made aware of to keep them out of harm’s way.
Constantly remind your workforce through training and handouts about what is expected from each one of them. Designate people with responsibilities and also plan for backups in case of no-shows or people missing work in case of health issues.
Winter Gear: Depending on the type of workplace, companies might need to invest in winter gear like snow boots or gloves to be safe from frostbite or hypothermia. Scrapers and shovels also might be necessary if workers are going to be outdoors.
Power: Electricity is another critical element. Not only having provisions for backup power but also testing them periodically to make sure they are working is vital. Also, consider training supervisors to turn the power on in case it doesn’t switch on automatically.
Fluid Replenishment: There’s a common misconception among people about dehydration happening only in summer. On the contrary, it can also happen during the winter due to the layers of clothing people wear to keep warm which can lead to rapid dehydration. In severe cases, it may lead to dizziness, fatigue, and cramping.
Workers need to be made aware of the ill effects of dehydration and encouraged to keep themselves adequately hydrated.
In summary here are general guidelines to keep workplaces safe in winter:
- Areas in and around the workplace where hazards like slips and falls could occur should be identified before the onset of winter.
- Put systems and processes in place to make the potential hazard sites safe by marking, clearing up in the event of snowfall. If possible move operations to a safer site.
- Review hazard areas regularly and keep workers aware of potential weather changes. Work areas should also be kept well lit and clean.
In the event of a slip, fall or severe injury at work during winter, you should reach out to a workers’ compensation lawyer to help you through the complex process of filing a claim and making sure that you get what you rightly deserve. Give Goldberg & Wolf a call at (856) 651-1600 or contact us to find out if your case qualifies, and the amount of compensation that you could claim.