The Bollinger Law Firm, P.C.

Avoid slips and falls at work this winter

As employers begin decorating their shops and slash prices to attract holiday shoppers, there is another group of people they should be catering to as well-their employees. With all the ice and snow that comes with the winter months, the instances of slip and fall accidents increases-according to two leading workers' compensation carriers, these type of accidents accounted for almost one third of all workers' compensation claims that led to losing time from work. This represented a doubling of such claims in 2013-14 compared to the previous year.

It is an employer's duty to create a safe working environment without risks for their employees, regardless of the weather. However, many neglect this duty during this period. Not only do slip and fall accidents related to winter weather affect injured employees, it also has a negative impact on employers, leading to time off from work, increased insurance costs and temporary employee costs. For this reason alone, one would think that employers would take workplace safety seriously, but this is seldom the case.

There are a few steps employees can take to reduce workplace accidents this year, including watching for slippery floors and wearing boots or slip resistant footwear. But more responsibility falls on employers. Possibly for this reason, the Accident Fund and United Heartland hold safety and awareness campaigns to educate employers on measures to reduce workplace accidents, including snow and ice removal plans, salting and shoveling techniques and stressing the importance of wearing the right footwear.

Despite these precautions, workplace accidents do take place during various times throughout the year. An injured employee can file a workers' compensation claim to recover their medical costs and raise awareness about the unsafe working environment so that employers can reduce the risk.

Source: EHS Today, "Winter Safety: Stay Upright with These Tips to Avoid Slips and Falls", Accessed on November 11

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