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How to Minimize the Risk of Occupational Injuries This Winter

Workers can fall victim to occupational injuries for many different reasons, some of which are a result of falling, slipping, and tripping. Of course, this can happen no matter what the weather is like, but cold winter weather definitely creates the right environment for these kinds of accidents to happen. Freezing rain, sleet, snow, and ice all contribute to slippery floors and surfaces that can be stomping grounds for occupational injuries to occur. These chances only increase when work takes place in these uncontrollable environmental conditions. 

Fortunately, the likelihood of accidents happening can be minimized when businesses adopt safe standards and practices for employees who are working in hazardous conditions.

Preventing Occupational Injuries
In order to keep workers safe, there must be a plan in place that addresses safety standards of the work environment. In order to do this effectively, the workspace must be assessed to acknowledge potential occupational injuries that could occur. To avoid injuries from falls and slips, you might need to make a plan to keep walkways, parking areas, and break ares free from ice/snow. Put up hazard and warning signs in areas that are high-risk for accidents to occur, so that employees are constantly reminded throughout the day. 

Getting Everyone on Board
Another part of minimizing occupational injuries in the winter is to make sure everyone is aware of the potential hazards around them. Communication is key when implementing a safety plan; workers should be given the opportunity to help identify any hazards that they’ve come across while working and management should make sure that information is made aware to everyone involved.

As obvious as it may seem, reiterate common sense safety rules to workers. What may be an easy walkway when the ground is dry, can easily become difficult terrain when it’s covered in sleet. Employees should be reminded to take it slow and steady, especially when there are others around. 

Encouraging Safety
Employers should not only present safety plans in order to prevent occupational injuries, they should also encourage employees to adhere to the standards set in place. This includes providing the right equipment for employees, such as warning signs, but also the right tools to perform their jobs without strenuous movements that could cause slips or falls. Additionally, employees should be provided with or given the time to purchase the correct workwear for cold weather, like boots with traction, and warm jackets. Short, frequent breaks should be encouraged to allow employees to rest and warm-up when needed.

Monitoring Symptoms from Weather Exposure
Cold weather can also lead to workplace injury as a result of the weather itself, leading to things like hypothermia and frostbite. Employees should know what symptoms to look for in case of overexposure to cold weather, although this should be prevented and addressed in your safety plan. 

Hypothermia can cause shivering, confusion, slurred speech, and a loss of coordination. Frostbite can turn skin numb, frigid, and pale, while also causing swelling and stiffness in joints. If any of these symptoms occur in workers, seek medical care immediately. PrimeCare in North Little Rock can see patients without the need for a scheduled appointment.