Ohio workers’ compensation lawyers explain what to know about winter-related work hazards.
Winter weather in Ohio can often be harsh – from blizzards to ice storms, sleet or freezing rain, and drifting snow. As a result, it’s no surprise many Ohio workers sustain serious workplace injuries due to hazardous winter weather.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) understands the risks many workers face during the winter. That’s why OSHA recently created a winter weather safety guide designed to prevent workplace injuries during the winter months.
When such injuries occur, injured workers in Ohio should be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits in most cases. But actually getting those benefits can be much harder than injured workers might suspect. That’s why anyone injured on the job should talk to an Ohio workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.
Most dangerous jobs in winter
Certain professions are more dangerous than others during the winter. According to OSHA, some of the most dangerous jobs during winter include:
- Snowplow drivers who have to drive during blizzards and other hazardous winter weather.
- Snow removal workers, including anyone who has to shovel snow or clear away ice from sidewalks or rooftops.
- Police officers, firefighters, and other emergency response workers who have to work during hazardous winter weather.
- Tow truck operators who respond to stranded vehicles and other road emergency situations.
- Utility workers, who often have to repair downed power lines during snow or ice storms.
- Construction workers who work outside, especially roofers.
Common winter workplace injuries
Workplace injuries due to hazardous winter weather can cover a wide range, including:
- Head injuries, including concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), often caused by slipping and falling on snow or ice.
- Back injuries, including lower back injuries and spinal cord injuries, often due to lifting heavy objects, including shoveling wet snow.
- Frostbite and other winter-related skin injuries, which can be just as dangerous as skin burns if the weather is cold enough.
- Broken bones and bone fractures, often due to slip and fall injuries on ice and snow.
- Muscle injuries, including torn muscles or strained muscles, often caused by shoveling snow.
- Amputation injuries, including loss of fingers or hands in snow blowers and other winter power equipment.
These are just some injuries that often occur on the job in winter. Other serious winter work-related injuries often happen as well.
Why workplace accidents happen in winter
Like many workplace accidents, winter-related accidents often occur due to dangerous situations. Some of the reasons why include the following:
- Work-related car accidents during hazardous winter weather.
- Slipping and falling on snow or ice.
- Heavy lifting injuries, especially when shoveling snow.
- Being electrocuted by downed power lines, especially during blizzards, when high winds and poor visibility combine to create dangerous working conditions.
- Falling snow or ice hitting workers on the head.
- Someone’s hands or other body parts become caught in a snowblower or other powerful winter machinery.
Safety tips to prevent winter workplace accidents
OSHA urges employers to take a wide range of preventative measures depending on the nature of someone’s winter work. Such safety tips include:
- Inspect vehicles or equipment before use to ensure they’re in proper working order.
- If workers need to drive in the snow, employers or workers should check the vehicle’s brakes and tires before driving on snow or ice-covered roads.
- Always take breaks if doing strenuous outdoor winter work, such as shoveling snow or working outdoors on the road.
- Employees should be provided with insulated weatherproof gloves, hats, and jackets to prevent frostbite and other skin-related injuries.
- When working near downed power lines, make sure workers do not come into contact with live electrical wires and that there are warning signs clearly posted about such hazardous working conditions.
Why should I hire a workers’ compensation attorney?
Winter-related work injuries can quickly turn into complicated legal cases. If you or a loved one has been hurt on the job in Ohio while working in hazardous winter weather, make sure you fully understand your rights. Make sure you talk to an experienced Ohio workers’ compensation lawyer right away.
The dedicated legal team at Hochman & Plunkett Co., L.P.A, knows exactly what to do. That’s because we have been helping injured workers in Ohio for years. Discover what we can do for you. Contact us and schedule a free case consultation with an Ohio workers’ compensation attorney you can trust. We have offices in Dayton, Cincinnati, Springfield, and Troy and handle injury claims throughout Ohio.