The free cooling blow that affects the Midwest and the snow projected in the south can increase the safety risks and lead to an inflation in workplace injuries, experts say.
In 2014, more than 42,480 occupational injuries occurred, requiring at least one day away from work due to ice, snow or snow, according to the latest statistics on winter weather by the Labor Statistics Agency. Of the reported injuries, 82% were due to falls at the same level.
Ties, travel and falls are increasing in winter due to the changing rainfall from rain to ice to snow and back and the effects of these weather conditions walking surfaces, says Peter Koch, a security management specialist for Portland, Maine-based MEMIC Group, a Rules compensation insurers.
"Really good luck how a person falls," says Mr Koch. "You can get someone to go under the most dangerous conditions and maybe end up in a soft position. From you, someone in a less dangerous situation can fall back and land on the back of the head, which can be life-changing or the end of life."
MEMIC has had a significant increase in sliding and falling damage during the first week of January this year, which has experienced icy, snow-covered conditions.
The cost of damages from these cases can be significant, Koch said. MEMIC reported that a parking lot fell resulting in medical and salary costs of nearly $ 1
In a 2017 study by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health in Pennsylvania and published by the National Institute of Health, the emergency department in the city experienced an increase in fall-related visits during the winter months – especially in the morning after a snowfall – over a five-year period leading the health department to conclude that "promoting the closure of work or delay of openings after severe winter weather would allow time for better snow or ice removal" and thereby reduce "weather-related injuries."
One of the best solutions, Koch said, is that simply make the employees prepared and aware of the danger and remove the distractions. Employers can take all precautions necessary to clear and salt parking spaces and walkways and maintain indoor areas, but damage can still occur if employees are not aware of the potential for slippery conditions, have improper shoes or do not care about their environment, he said.
"You must explain to employees that you do not want them to hurry or carry large items when the weather is not good," said Cindy Roth, CEO of Ergonomics Technologies Corp., a security consulting firm in Massapequa, New York. "Footwear must also be suitable for the environment with sufficient nonslips and suitable wear patterns."
Companies may want to consider relaxing clothes codes under challenging conditions or encourage employees to wear boots into the office and change shoes when they get to the office, mr koch said. Make sure that the boots do not interfere with the walk and create another danger, he said. .
Employers should also consider adding "eye-catching and non-static signage – something people recognize as providing important information" as they approach the workplace under adverse weather conditions. For companies in more temperate states, signs are commercially available that turn color when the temperature drops toward freezing to notify employees of the potential risk of ice, he said.
Incorrect housekeeping is another common problem during the winter months, said Mrs Roth.
"People leave shovels and bags of ice melt out," she said. Companies can fail to take care that uneven surfaces are identified and corrected, and that older winter rugs are replaced when they start to curl.
"The departments of the equipment do not change [the mats] quickly enough because of the expense, but if you have a workmate on a slide, journey or fall, you have spent the money at times 10," Roth said.
While mitigating the effects of winter weather to prevent complications is important, failing to maintain a safe workplace can also potentially lead to US occupational safety crimes, said Joshua Henderson, a partner at Seyfarth Shaw LLP, based in San Francisco. Henderson said it is not a stretch for employers who have workers without performing bitter cold conditions, to consider the clothing required to protect them as they would have any other personal protective equipment.
Construction and tools, postal vessels, delivery personnel and employees in Other similar positions can be adversely affected by improper protective clothing and training in the bitter cold, which can lead to hypothermia and / or frost damage, Ms Roth noted.
If OSHA decides that an employer has not acquired sufficient personal protective equipment to perform outdoor work and considered it to be contrary to the general obligation to create a safe and healthy work environment, a company could face up to $ 13,260 fines for each breach , Henderson says. Infringements that are considered repeated or cautious can lead to penalties as much as $ 132,598, according to OSHA.
Businesses can minimize the risks of complication and OSHA fines by maintaining a robust security plan that includes training supervisors and employees on ways to be safe at work, including reminders of proper security equipment under various weather conditions and procedures for reporting insecure working conditions " no matter how small they may seem, "can also minimize the risk," says Henderson.
Implementing a "see something, say something" policy is another good preventive measure, said Mrs Roth. "It's everyone's responsibility. If an employer wants to save money, communication is a lot cheaper than a workmate."