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The Biggest Workers’ Compensation Claim Causes in the Winter

The Biggest Workers’ Compensation Claim Causes in the WinterWinter brings festive holidays and cheer, and while spirits may be bright, weather is usually less pleasant. The 2019 Farmer’s Almanac predicts a colder-than-normal winter beginning in February, especially in the eastern part of the country. Low temperatures, strong winds and heavy precipitation levels bring about conditions that residents of the Northeastern coast often have to deal with in the winter. Snow, rain, sleet, and hail are considered bad conditions for drivers, but they can also greatly increase the risk of work injuries and accidents that lead to workers’ compensation claims. Below are the biggest workers’ compensation claim causes that workers’ compensation insurance brokers see in the winter as well as how employers can help manage them.

Slip and Fall Accidents

The number one cause of worker injuries in the winter is, not surprisingly, slip and fall accidents. Increased precipitation paired with freezing temperatures makes nearly every surface more slippery. Just walking from the parking lot to the office can be a feat in and of itself. Fresh snow tracked into the building quickly melts on floors, creating continuous slip and fall hazards inside the building as workers and visitors come and go.

Employers should be proactive in managing slip and fall hazards both inside and outside their buildings during winter weather conditions. On the outside, proper snow and ice removal is crucial and salt or sand should be place in areas where workers need to walk to get to their building. Inside, non-slip mats or rugs in doorways and hallways can help absorb melting snow to reduce slipping, and employers should monitor these areas throughout the day to ensure they remain safe.

Vehicle Accidents

Many workers are required to drive as part of their job description, even when winter weather creates hazardous driving conditions. Icy roads and poor visibility can lead to increased amounts of traffic accidents, and when work vehicles are involved it leaves employers on the hook for the damages and resulting workers’ comp claims.

While it’s not possible to completely prevent vehicle accidents, employers can reduce their employees’ risk of accidents by equipping work vehicles with snow tires or chains, clearing snow from parking areas and through roads on work properties and may even consider reducing the amount of driving their employees have to do when conditions are especially hazardous.

Back Injuries

In winter weather it sometimes takes a significant amount of heavy lifting and straining to even get out of the driveway to get to work. Workers who have to do additional physical activity at work can be more prone to injuring themselves just by twisting the wrong way, especially since cold temperatures can make muscles tighter and easier to strain.

Employers can help reduce back injuries by ensuring their workers are not over-exerting themselves, especially in freezing temperatures and providing proper safety gear such as back braces for employees that need extra back support.

About ASIA Workers’ Compensation

Associated Specialty Insurance Agency, Inc. has been “The Workers’ Compensation Specialist for Brokers and Agents” for the past two decades and is committed to providing brokers and insurance agents across the East Coast with expertise and services to develop a Workers’ Compensation policy. For more information about how we can assist you with claims management, anti-fraud measures, and more call (610) 543-5510 to speak with one of our professionals.

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