Winter time hazards may seem obvious; there’s snow and ice that cause people to slip, slide and fall. However, it’s not just the snow and ice that cause injury rates to rise during the winter. It’s important to be aware of the not-so-obvious winter hazards that can lead to injuries and wreak havoc on your experience modifier.
Here are some tips for avoiding injuries during colder months.
Slips and Falls
Workers tend to slip and fall on icy parking lots and walkways. Clear these pathways as soon as humanly possible. Talk to your employees about preventing slips and falls by telling them to wear anti-slip footwear. If you have a formal dress code, consider relaxing it during inclement weather so employees can wear more comfortable, safer shoes. It’s much easier to place anti-slip overshoes around sneakers as opposed to dress shoes and heels. Have plenty of signage to mark trouble spots, and put anti-slip mats at entry ways to catch any melted snow that might make floors more slippery.
If your area gets a lot of snow or ice all at once, check to see if your roof is up to the task of holding all that weight. Roofs become more prone to collapse with 4 inches of ice, 1 foot of thick snow, and between 1 to 4 feet of lighter snow. Clear your roof off as soon as you can, but be careful doing so. Hire specialists to clear off the roof, and most certainly don’t put your own employees on the roof. Slipping and falling in winter weather is one thing, but falling from heights while removing snow leads to catastrophic injuries.
Extended shifts may pose problems for workers in the winter time. Snowy weather probably means some workers simply call in and can’t make it to work. Then there is the holiday crush that some businesses experience where the influx of business necessitates additional work time.
To get all the work done that needs to get done, many employers mandate overtime or ask for volunteers to stay later to cover shifts. Worker sleepiness and tiredness, on top of the stress caused by winter weather, leads to more accidents on the job. Rather than extend shifts later into the day, it may be better to keep shifts at the normal length and work more days. Consider working on Saturday or Sunday if your company doesn’t do so already.
Dehydration is a problem in winter time because the outside air is dryer compared to the summer time. Keep your break room stocked with plenty of water (either in bottles or larger containers for distribution). Water doesn’t cost very much, so investing in this preventative measure can save a lot of money in lost production and workers’ compensation claims.
The bottom line is that all of these prevention tips save you money because it reduces the likelihood of injury which keeps your insurance premiums low.
A little prevention goes a long way. Contact us at Work First Casualty Company and see what we can do to help you eliminate winter injuries.