An accident on the job can happen to anyone at any time. However, certain hazards can be far more common during the winter months. Knowing what these are allows employers to take proactive steps to prevent them and helps workers identify and avoid them.
Seasonal workplace hazards to watch for
Winter in Vancouver means ice, snow and cold temperatures. So, depending on where a person works, seasonal workplace hazards can include:
- Slippery entryways: Melting snow and freezing rain make entryways slippery. Parties responsible for maintaining a particular property should have rugs, fans, shovels and other means of clearing walkways. Wet floor signs can also help prevent slip-and-fall accidents.
- Poor lighting and visibility: With far fewer hours of daylight in the winter, lighting can be especially crucial. Things like broken headlights, missing lights in stairwells and difficulty seeing people outside can put people in danger. Thus, parties must replace or install lighting elements and utilize high-visibility gear to stay safe.
- Vehicle crashes: The roads can be treacherous in the winter. Whether people commute to work or drive for a living, slowing down, properly maintaining vehicles and holding off on trips during nasty weather can reduce the likelihood of a car accident.
- Exposure to the elements: Exposure-related injuries can be a serious risk to people who work outdoors. Wearing proper protective gear, like boots and warm clothing, and having access to heated spaces is essential.
These conditions can increase the chances of someone getting hurt, so making safety a priority in the winter is vital for employers and employees.
What to do after an accident
After a weather-related accident, workers who take a few critical steps can make recovery easier.
- Report the incident to an employer: Employees should tell them what happened as soon as possible to ensure they fulfil notification requirements.
- See the doctor: Even if an injury or illness seems minor, workers should still consider seeing their doctor. Doing so creates a record of the incident and can keep symptoms from getting worse or ignored.
- Pursue workers’ compensation: Injured workers can be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits after an accident on the job. Filing a claim can help workers get the financial help they need to get better while they cannot work.
When accidents cannot be prevented or avoided, these steps can connect workers with the necessary resources to get back on their feet.