Between slips and falls, weather-related auto accidents, and even illness, it’s no surprise that winter weather causes a significant increase in workman’s compensation claims.
Here are some of the most common workers’ comp claims in winter:
Cold Stress Injuries
Most common among employees working outside or in unheated spaces such as warehouses, cold stress injuries are caused by prolonged exposure to extreme cold. These include:
- Respiratory Disease Exacerbation (ie. asthma, COPD)
- Pernio (chilblains)
- Trench foot (immersion foot)
Employees who are required to work outside should be provided with and required to wear appropriate attire including waterproof boots, proper outerwear, gloves, knit caps, and other cold protection.
Winter-Related Auto Accidents
While it’s advisable for your employees to stay off the roads in inclement weather, it’s not always possible. Truck drivers and delivery personnel, for instance, are required to drive regardless of road conditions. Winter weather complications such as slush, ice, and snow account for 24% of all weather-related automobile accidents.
Slips and Falls
Ice and snow account for many of these incidents, but don’t forget that wet floors create a slip hazard inside, too. In addition, some workers may be injured while entering or exiting vehicles in poorly maintained parking lots. Slips, trips, and falls account for up to 15% of all workman’s comp claims; this number will increase throughout the winter months.
Muscle Strains and Sprains
Whether it’s partially slipping on ice or shoveling the sidewalk, muscle strains and sprains can increase over the winter months. An employee doesn’t need to fall completely to place undue strain on joints and muscles; in fact, some of the worst injuries can come from attempting to “catch” oneself from a fall.
While the majority of winter illnesses, such as the flu, aren’t worker’s comp related on their own, employees may file a claim if they can prove the illness was contracted at work. Requiring employees to report to work sick, failing to provide appropriate PPE, or refusing to shut down for a few days after multiple employees have contracted the same illness are all instances that could lead to a claim.
It’s Not Always Simple to File Workers Comp Claims
If you’re injured on the job, always start by filling out an incident report and advising your supervisor that you have been injured. Never wait to see if it “just gets better on its own,” as these claims are time-sensitive. After you’ve filed and sought appropriate medical treatment, the next call should be to the Law Office of Arthur Crum, PA.
Mr. Crum’s record of successful litigation has led to his being recognized as the “Attorney’s Attorney,” and one of his specialties is settling workman’s compensation claims. If you’re injured at work this winter, call Arthur Crum, attorney at law, and discuss your case with a free, no-obligation consultation.