The summer weather has faded here in Minnesota, and that means we’re in store for a couple of months of snow and ice. But just because the temperature drops doesn’t mean the work stops. If you work outside for a living, you know just how challenging the winters here in Minnesota can be. We have seen firsthand how the weather affects employee injury rates, and today, we want to take a closer look at the types of injuries that often increase as the temperatures decrease here in Minnesota.
Common Cold Weather Work Injuries
Here’s a look at common injuries and workers’ compensation claims that tend to increase during the winter months.
Slip and Fall Injuries – These injuries aren’t limited to outdoor workers; we also see an uptick in slip and fall injuries among office workers. Outside it’s snowy and icy, which can lead to fall injuries, but tracking that snow and ice into a lobby or across tile floors can create hazardous walking conditions. Watch where you’re walking, and do you best to dry off your shoes when you enter a building so you can mitigate your fall risk in the winter.
Frostbite – This one is less of a concern to individuals who work in an office. Frostbite and overexposure injuries are more common than they should be in Minnesota during the wintertime. Employees need to make sure they have the right protective gear for working in cold conditions, and employers need make it clear that employees should stop what they are doing if they can’t no longer feel their fingers or toes. Don’t try to work through the discomfort, make safety a priority.
Hypothermia – Hypothermia is a medical condition categorized by a drop in body temperature, and it can have severe short-term and long-term effects on our health. Again, this can be brought upon by not having the right winter weather work gear, but it can also be brought upon by malfunctioning heating equipment which exposes employees to unreasonably cold temperatures for extended periods. In somes cases, individuals affected by hypothermia at work may have a negligence suit in combination with their workers’ compensation case.
Spine Injuries – Back injuries also tend to spike in the winter months for a variety of reasons. For starters, if you slip but don’t end up falling, you can strain or sprain a number of different spinal structures. Another reason why back injuries can increase is because our spinal muscles and joints don’t move as fluidly in colder temperatures. If we don’t take time to warm up, or we use poor lifting techniques, spinal injuries are bound to occur. Take care of your back throughout the year, but pay extra attention during the winter.
If you’ve suffered an on-the-job injury during the winter months, make sure you seek out professional representation. Don’t just assume the injury is part of the job, you are entitled to compensation. To learn more about what types of compensation may be available to you, or to talk over your injury and your options with a lawyer, give Dean Margolis and his team of lawyers a call today.
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