Fall has arrived! The kids have returned to school. The days are getting shorter and football has returned (Go Bucks!). However, it won’t be long before the snow, ice, and cold temperatures return and bring with them an entire set of hazards often resulting in workplace accidents such as…
- Auto accidents while driving on slippery roads.
- Wet or slippery ladders, scaffolding, and machinery, etc.
- Slip and fall injuries on the ice outdoors or wet floors indoors.
- Hypothermia, frostbite, and dehydration.
- Snow and ice removal injuries such as a back strain, shoulder strain, wrist strain, or heart attack.
- Strains from carrying bags of salt.
- Roof collapse from weight of snow.
- Carbon monoxide poisoning caused by snow-packed exhausts.
- Falling objects such as icicles, tree limbs, and utility poles.
- Blind spots in or near snow plows and snow blowers.
It may seem like common sense, but additional steps should be taken to avoid or reduce these problems. An employer can start by:
- Promptly removing snow and ice from around or near the building and parking lot and then applying salt.
- Watching for temperature increases and decreases, which may increase ice and require the use of additional salt.
- Using mats and rugs at all doorways.
- Encouraging employees to wear tennis shoes or snow boots while walking to and from the building.
Also, employers should remind their employees how easy the extreme cold weather can affect them and the importance of dressing for these colder conditions as well as drinking lots of water and avoiding caffeine.
Vehicles should also be prepared for winter by not only checking the overall condition of the vehicle, but also preparing a basic emergency kit including: flashlight, batteries, blanket, snacks, gloves, boots, first-aid kit, tire chains, jumper cables, and road flares.
Although not all of these accidents can be prevented, awareness can help to decrease the number of workplace accidents and encourage safety among everyone. Do you know of other weather-related hazards to be aware of as the weather turns colder?