Winter can be a fun time in the workplace, from end-of-year parties and cookie trays in the lounge to holiday bonuses and more. But for some workers, winter can be a time of increased risk, where conditions become more dangerous and incidences of workplace injuries may be on the rise. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that (opens in a new tab) sustained in 2017 were related to ice, snow, and sleet.
At , we’re proud to have a dedicated for the treatment of work-related injuries, and we’re passionate about workplace injury prevention. Here are three of the most common workplace injuries to watch out for during the winter months:
Slips and Trips
Because of the prevalence of snow and ice, wintertime is prime time slip and fall accidents at work, or even just in daily life. While anyone could seriously injure themself after taking a spill on the ice, the workplace is particularly dangerous, as pressure mounts to perform tasks quickly and your attention is diverted everywhere but the ground in front of you. Those who work in largely outdoor fields are particularly at risk, including delivery drivers, waste management professionals, public service workers, and construction workers. But even if you’re not in one of these industries, be aware: even just walking out the office door or performing afternoon school bus duty can put you in danger if the roads and sidewalks are icy.
For some workers, such as electricians, firefighters, first responders, and construction workers, wintertime and the holiday season means an increase in jobs that require one to work at elevated heights. These professionals are often highly trained to perform these tasks; however, if a roof or power line is covered in snow, it may obscure a serious structural fault that can lead to a major fall. These types of falls can result in severe, sometimes even life-threatening, orthopedic injuries to the spine, legs, feet, and more, all of which will require significant treatment and a lengthy period of recovery.
While most of the work-related injuries you can sustain in the winter are a result of a specific event, it’s also important to note that in certain circumstances, the cold temperatures themselves can become dangerous, putting workers at risk for a variety of injuries and conditions. Inflamed blood vessels, frostbite, and hypothermia are all risks when temperatures are low enough and when proper equipment for staying warm is not provided.
Most of these winter weather injuries are preventable when you and your employer work together to create a safe workplace environment. Wearing the appropriate clothing (both for cold protection and traction on slippery ground) is essential, as is clearing walkways of snow and ice before workers have a chance to injure themselves. If you are injured at work this winter, it’s important to report your injury and as soon as possible.
If you are suffering from a work-related injury, don’t wait to seek treatment. The department at Barrington Orthopedic Specialists is committed to your total recovery, and eager to help you navigate the workers’ compensation process. Ready to get started? here.