Here are some potential weather-related hazards to be aware of:
Slips, Trips, and Falls on Ice/Snow. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), slips, trips, and falls accounted for 800 workplace fatalities in 2015, when workplace deaths had reached a six-year high.
In order to counteract this danger, a proactive safety plan should be in place in order to protect workers safety, as well as to minimize possible costs from Workers’ Compensation payments, fines, and remediation of facility equipment/requirements.
Employers can help by preventing build-up of ice/snow by clearing and de-icing walkways, as well as paying attention to parking lots and break areas, which are likely to prove dangerous, but are often overlooked. Snow removal companies should plow any accumulation before things freeze over or pile up.
Avoiding Slip and Falls
Other ways to improve safety and avoid slips, trips, and falls include:
- Avoiding carrying any heavy loads that make balance difficult
- Marking hazardous areas by using signs, barricades, cones, or floor stands to give notice
- Keeping walkways, stairways, and other work areas clear in general
- Paying attention to where you are going and having your hands empty in order to balance yourself should you slip
- Removing any hazards right away, such as snow on sidewalks
- Wearing footwear with heavy treads for traction, and walking on grass when walkways are covered in ice
- Wearing a brightly colored jacket or other clothing to make yourself visible to drivers
More Winter Specific Hazards
Hypothermia. Hypothermia is a consequence of prolonged exposure to the cold, when the body loses heat faster than it can generate it. Hypothermia may have serious, long-lasting effects.
Symptoms of the condition include:
- Drowsiness or confusion
- Lack of coordination
- Shivering or shaking
- Slurred Speech
Frostbite. Frostbite, like hypothermia, is also a consequence of prolonged exposure to the cold, and may also have serious, long-lasting effects.
Symptoms of frostbite include:
- Blisters or swelling
- Joint or muscle stiffness
- Skin that becomes cold and turns numb, pale, and hard
If you suspect that you have either of these conditions, it is imperative that you seek medical care as soon as possible.
How Can Employers Help?
A 2016 Gallup study showed that employers who had higher levels of engagement had 70 percent fewer safety incidents than those with lower levels. General guidelines for helping employees to become involved in safety include:
- Determining controls that may be instituted to reduce hazards, such as removing dangerous environmental factors, limiting access to higher risk areas, and providing relevant protective equipment.
- Evaluating potential risks of hazards, like the number of employees who may be affected, potential frequency they could be affected, and potential impact of surrounding areas and equipment.
- Identifying potential hazards and reviewing incident records.
- Maintaining records of all incidents and continually reviewing and approving.
- Frequently reviewing the work environment and working conditions.
Philadelphia Construction Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Help Those Injured in Winter Construction Accidents
If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction accident, no matter the time of year, it is important that you receive the compensation that you deserve. An experienced Philadelphia construction accident lawyer at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC can do just that. For a free consultation call 215-569-8488 or contact us online today. We serve clients in Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia, Delaware County, and Chester County, as well as those throughout Delaware and New Jersey.