Winter Work Wisdom: Employer Responsibilities to Make Working in the Winter Safe

By Stewart Law Offices
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Workplace safety is something employers should take seriously throughout the year, but it’s particularly important during the winter. There are additional dangers to workers as colder weather arrives in South Carolina, and employers need to be prepared. If employers don’t take proper precautions, the results can be disastrous for workers and businesses alike.

Facts About Workplace Accidents

Here are a few facts about workplace accidents that help show how common these injuries are, both in South Carolina and across the United States. Regarding the most recent year for which data is available:

  • The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics says more than 44,000 workers in South Carolina, across both the private and public sectors, suffered a work-related injury.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that about 2.4 million workers nationwide suffered work-related injuries and had to be treated at hospital emergency departments.
  • Falls are one of the most common injuries workers sustain in winter. The CDC notes that about 27 percent of the nonfatal work injuries that caused workers to miss at least one day of work were related to slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accidents.

Types of Workplace Injuries

Here are a handful of the most common workplace injuries we see at our firm, both in winter and throughout the year:

  • Strained, sprained, or pulled muscles
  • Head and neck injuries, including whiplash
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Fractured bones and crush injuries
  • Contusions and lacerations
  • Repetitive stress injuries
  • Overexertion injuries
  • Burn injuries
  • Respiratory injuries
  • Environmental and toxic exposure injuries

What Your Employer Needs to Do

There are a handful of things your employer should do each winter to help keep workers as safe as possible, including the following:

  • Employers and managers should carefully inspect the workplace to identify and address hazards. They should also conduct regular and periodic inspections to address any new hazards that appear.
  • Employers should ensure sidewalks, parking lots, and exterior walkways are kept clear and dry to prevent fall injuries.
  • Workers can track snow or other precipitation into the workplace when they enter a building, so interior walkways should also be regularly inspected and cleaned to make sure they’re clear and dry.
  • Employers should teach workers how to properly use fall prevention equipment.
  • The roof of the workplace and nearby trees should also be inspected regularly to make sure no one is in danger from falling snow, ice, and so on.
  • Colds, the flu, and certain other illnesses are more common in the winter, so employers should let workers use their sick days to prevent other employees from being exposed to a potential illness.

Injured on the Job? Stewart Law Offices Can Help

Sometimes workers are hurt on the job despite the care and caution they use at work. When this happens, it’s essential to file a workers’ compensation claim as soon as possible so you can get the benefits you need right away.

We strongly recommend you get help from a workers’ comp lawyer to minimize the chances of making a mistake that could hurt your claim. Contact our Stewart Law Offices today for a free initial consultation with a South Carolina personal injury attorney.

Getting in any kind of accident can change your life. We understand the stress, the medical bills, the time missed from work, and the pain and suffering that comes with serious injuries. That is why our dedicated personal injury lawyers in the Carolinas are here to help you move forward.