During the past month, many parts of the country have been affected by record-setting, freezing temperatures. While countless workers have been become ill with either the flu or colds as a result of their exposure to fluctuating temperatures, others have suffered trips, slips and falls. In the case of the latter, workers have suffered permanent injuries causing them to miss work and stunting employers’ productivity as a result.
These types of injuries are believed to account for at least 20 percent of all worker disability cases in the United States. A disabling event is understood as any one that causes a worker to miss 8 or more days or work.
The types of workers most likely to suffer injuries on the job during the winter months include those employed in the material moving, production, and transportation sectors.
It’s not uncommon that workers in these industries experience decreased sensitivity in their limbs caused by a reduction in blood flow related to below-average temperatures. In other cases, workers experience an increased inability to focus and a reduction of energy while on the job in the winter because days are both colder and shorter. Both of these factors lead many workers to suffer on-the-job injuries during winter months.
Other disabling injuries are caused by poorly maintained workplace facilities or grounds, premises that employers are responsible for taking reasonable precautions to ensure are safe.
Many of these injuries are caused by poorly lit interiors and exteriors of buildings, uneven or slippery floors and lackluster efforts being made to clean up spills or to remove ice.
In other instances, employers fail to enforce policies that disallow employees from wearing winter clothing such as hoodies, scarves or gloves that may easily become caught up in the machinery they’re operating. Or, they neglect to require their employees to wear nonskid shoes that may give them better traction.
Not having in-house policies requiring employees to put down their phones or to avoid carrying loads that are too high to see over may also result in unnecessary falls. Workers not being properly trained on how to better secure a ladder to avoid icy terrain can also result in employee injuries.
If you’ve been injured on the job because of poorly maintained facilities or as a result of some other type of employer negligence, then a Dauphin, Pennsylvania, workers’ compensation attorney can advise you of your rights.