During the winter, employers owe a duty of care to warn employees of hazardous conditions. Employers must also take steps to prevent accidents. As noted by the U.S. Department of Labor, seasonal tasks such as those related to snow removal may cause on-the-job injuries.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, removing snow in cold weather may cause a heart attack. Employees could experience stress, back pain or dehydration from physical exertion.
Injuries may result from equipment and vehicles used during winter
Wintertime equipment may lead to injuries. Damaged or downed power lines after heavy snowstorms could create a hazardous environment. Employees operating motorized equipment face increased risks. The equipment could come in contact with energized power lines.
The winter months may cause work vehicles to break down or become unsafe. Checking a vehicle’s brakes and tires for traction may prevent a dangerous collision. OSHA requires employers to not allow employees to operate an unsafe vehicle on ice or snow.
Employers must take steps to prevent hazardous conditions
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website notes that 15% of all on-the-job injuries consist of trips, slips and falls. As described by OHSonline.com, employers must regularly inspect and maintain their walkways to prevent accidents.
Slippery wet floors and icy sidewalks could cause serious slip-and-fall accidents. To prevent injuries, employees may have specific seasonal safety responsibilities. Safety measure tasks typically include salting sidewalks and maintaining no-slip mats on floors.
Pennsylvania requires employers to carry workers’ comp insurance. Regardless of the precautions taken, an on-the-job accident qualifies for benefits. A workers’ comp claim may cover medical treatment, physical rehabilitation and time away from work.