The winter months are a time when much of the nation gets hit with inclement weather like snow, ice and sleet. This can create hazardous workplace conditions where workers are more likely to incur injuries. Let’s now discuss the specifics behind the correlation between winter and weather and worker’s comp claims, and how you can prevent accidents.
Primary Workplace Dangers
Just as you might think, the vast majority of accidents are due to slips and falls. Whenever there are snowy or icy conditions, it turns a normally innocuous environment into one that’s teeming with dangers. It’s all too easy for employees to get injured in the parking lot, walkways or any other slick surface. Here’s a breakdown of the percentage of worker’s comp claims that are due to slips and falls in five states.
- Minnesota – 29%
- Illinois – 32%
- Michigan – 32%
- Wisconsin – 33%
- Indiana – 37%
The Negative Impact on Business
According to Mike Britt, president of Accident Fund Insurance Company of America, “Winter-related slips and falls have a significant negative impact on American businesses each year, resulting in time off work, temporary employee costs, overtime for existing employees and increased insurance costs.” Without taking the proper safety precautions, it’s only a matter of time until someone gets injured on the job. All of a sudden you’re lacking a valuable member of your workforce and suffering a financial loss. Not to mention that it can be disruptive to overall business operations and cause a lot of headaches.
How to Prevent Accidents
Although you can’t eliminate the threat of slips, fall and other accidents entirely, there are several ways to minimize them. For starters, you will want to have an effective snow removal plan so employees, customers and vendors have safe and convenient access. It’s smart to hire a snow removal contractor and have them on standby whenever a big storm hits.
They should have a strong reputation and be licensed and bonded in your state. A contractor should also have current coverage for liability and worker’s comp. Going this route is smart because they will usually have access to serious equipment like snowplows and know what it takes to keep your workplace safe.
You should also take the time to educate your employees on some basic safety techniques. This starts with wearing slip-resistant footwear with good rubber treads. Having pullover boots close by is ideal because employees will be prepared at any time. When walking on a potentially slippery surface, it’s advised to take short and slow steps.
If possible, it’s also best to not carry items under inclement conditions. If an employee has their arms and hands free, they can walk with greater stability and are more likely to catch themselves if they do slip. For more information on staying safe, this guide from Appalachian State University can be helpful.
Because of the link between winter weather and worker’s comp claims, it’s important to take a proactive approach and prevent problems instead of waiting until it’s too late. Click here to learn more about workers’ compensation claims and how to simplify the process.