Apart from the occasional ski trip, there are not many positive aspects to winter. In fact, this dreary season creates risk for workers and employers, increasing workers’ compensation claims. Between icy conditions, snow packed roads, and freezing temperatures, employers can’t catch a break, and even have to take extra precautions to prevent workers’ compensation claims from rising. Ensure your employees and your bottom line is protected with a comprehensive Workers’ Compensation program. The silver lining: there is still time to minimize your risk for the remainder of winter!
Slips, trips and falls
When your employees walk to and from their cars in icy conditions or are constantly on the go in the service industry, slips, trips, and falls are inevitable. For surer footing coat sidewalks with salt immediately after a storm to reduce unwanted spills, slips, trips and falls.
Next, encourage your employees to walk slowly and take small steps to allow themselves to react quickly to a change in traction. It’s also recommended that you remind employees to wear proper footwear to navigate the snow and ice safely.
If your employees are in and out of vehicles all day, be sure they use proper precautions such as stepladders and grips. After a hard day’s work, your employees will thank you for saving them a slip on their way out the door.
Accidents on the road
While employers cannot control roadway conditions, they can promote safe driving behavior by ensuring workers are properly trained for hazardous weather conditions. Remember, simple considerations go a long way, especially in dreadful winter weather. The last thing your employees need is to be stranded in the middle of a snow storm. Before employees start their routes, ensure each vehicle is in proper working order, including the brakes, engine, electrical system, and tires.
Advise your employees to drive slowly, allow plenty of time to brake (especially in heavy fleet vehicles that build up momentum quickly). And, minimize distractions -- remember, it is against the law to require your employees to check in via cell phone while they are operating a vehicle. These safe practices on the road can minimize the chance that they will get into an accident or damage property, which can lead to multiple claims at once.
Because the weather isn’t ideal, doesn’t mean the work stops. For those employees who work outdoors, proper precautions are a must. Working in freezing temperatures requires the body to work harder to maintain warmth, so fatigue is more likely to occur during these harsh conditions.
Ensure your employees dress appropriately. Wearing multiple layers can prevent hypothermia and frostbite while also allowing the body to cool by taking off a layer or two when needed. Require your employees to wear slip-resistant footwear and allow them to take breaks to warm up and rest to prevent fatigue.
Lastly, working outdoors and driving in extreme weather subjects your employees to collisions from other drivers who lose control of their vehicles, as well. Remind your employees to stay alert and use the necessary signage to warn drivers of their presence.
At HUB International, we understand the pain points of operating a business. We know that risk is inevitable, especially during this season, which is why we offer comprehensive workers’ compensation coverage to give you peace of mind. Our experts will work with you to identify your exposures, analyze your risk profile and loss history, and offer a solution that protects your employees the way they deserve. For more information about how we can go to work for you, get in touch with us today by filling out our contact form.