Cold weather is here, and as the temperature dips, workers compensation insurance claims often rise. Needless to say, most of these claims are related to the slippery conditions that accompany inclement weather, but other hazards are waiting to wreak havoc on your employees and your bottom line.
Think about all that dangerous snow-removal equipment and the possibility of frost-bitten fingers and toes from over-exposure to frigid temps and low wind chill factors.
No, you can’t control the weather, but you have complete control over the cold-weather risks that your employees may face. Most accidents are preventable and slipping, tripping, and falling accidents are no exception. Here’s how to keep your employees and your bottom line safe:
Keep your workplace safe with these tips
- Monitor the weather conditions
- Keep adequate supplies of snow and ice removal tools in accessible areas
- Shovel and apply ice melt to keep walking areas clear and dry
- Pay particular attention to areas where ice tends to form
- Remove ice accumulations promptly, and use additional ice melt to prevent buildup
- Provide good lighting and clear path markings in parking lots and walkways
- Identify steps and ramps that might not be visible in snowy conditions
- Contract with a snow removal company to clear your lots after a snow or ice storm
- Place high quality, beveled edge track-off mats in entrance areas
- Change mats regularly to ensure those in place are dry
Reduce workers comp claims - instruct your workers on winter safety
Workers who will be going outdoors must be given or told to wear the proper footwear. Shoes and boots should have slip-resistant soles for the best traction, and employees need to be reminded to take shorter steps and walk more slowly on slippery surfaces.
Ladders are always dangerous but become more so in winter conditions. They should only be placed on surfaces that are free of snow and ice. And workers who are working on rooftops must take extra care and be trained in fall protection methods.
Additional training to keep your workers safe
- As mentioned, stick to footwear that is insulated, waterproof, and has a non-slip sole with a flat heel
- Ice grippers can also help your workers walk more safely on ice and snow
- Only use walkways that have been shoveled and salted--stay away from snow piles or areas where snow and ice removal is not possible
- Test any surface for slickness by sliding one shoe or boot on it before proceeding
- Walk with your head up, and don’t lean forward
- Never run on slippery surfaces
- To avoid wet and slippery conditions indoors, remove as much snow as possible as you enter
- Use your vehicle for support when you enter or exit it
Establish a fall prevention program in your company
Here's an effective way to reduce workers comp insurance claims: set standards for your parking lot and all sidewalks when snow or ice arrives, and train the employees who will have the responsibility for clearing them. Then, define everyone else’s role in preventing falls. Whatever standards are set, monitor them to ensure that they are being met. Acknowledge the program’s successes and make changes to it when necessary.
The best fall prevention method is for employers to keep their workers indoors on cold days or when ice and snow are a problem. When that isn’t possible, appropriate training on fall prevention and the proper use of snow removal equipment, such as snow blowers and plows, are the next best things.
We're Ready to Help with Workers Compensation Insurance
Getting the right workers compensation insurance is also a key to lowering your costs while protecting your business. Let our professionals help you do both. We shop among competing insurance providers to make sure you get the right policy for your business at the right price.
To learn more, contact American Insuring Group online or call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848.