shutterstock_1923790016.jpegWinter season 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 more than 20,000 work injuries sustained in 2017 were related to ice, snow, and sleet.

At Barrington Orthopedic Specialists, we’re proud to have a dedicated workers’ compensation department 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:

1. 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.

2. Falling Injuries

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.

3. Cold Exposure

While most of the work-related injuries you can sustain in weather conditions are a result of a specific event, it’s also important to note that in certain circumstances, the extreme 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 cold-related illnesses are preventable when you and your employer work together to create a safe workplace environment. Wearing the appropriate clothing (both for cold weather 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 begin receiving treatment as soon as possible.

Don't Let Winter Injuries Bring You Down, Visit Us!

If you are suffering from a work-related injury, don’t wait to seek treatment. The workers’ compensation 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? Request an appointment here.

Other services offered are our dedicated Work Conditioning Program designed to help you return to work safely and with confidence.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if I am injured at work during the winter?

If you are injured at work, it is important to report the injury as soon as possible and seek medical treatment. You should also inform your employer and file a workers’ compensation claim.

Can I be compensated for a work-related injury?

Yes, if you are injured while performing your job duties, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits which can cover medical expenses and lost wages. Our team of specialists at Barrington Orthopedic Specialists can help guide you through the process.

What should employers do to protect their workers during severe weather events?

Winter weather presents a risk in the workplace. That's why employers should have protocols in place for inclement weather, such as winter storms, and ensure that employees are properly trained on how to handle these situations. This may include providing personal protective equipment, such as proper footwear and clothing, for working in freezing temperatures.