The weather has been downright freezing already this year in Scranton, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Bradford, Schuykill, Lehigh, Monroe and surrounding areas. The cold winter weather can be bad news for workers. A workers' compensation lawyer knows that many employees have jobs in professions that require them to be outside, even in the bitter cold. Precautions must be taken to protect these workers and ensure they don't get injured or lose their lives due to exposure to extreme temperatures. Winter in Pennsylvania is a time when workers are at risk of slipping and falling because of dangerous conditions. If you slip and fall on an accumulation of snow or ice while working, you may have a third party lawsuit in addition to your entitlement to workers' compensation benefits. A "third party" refers to an individual or business other than your employer.
Winter Work Safety Tips for Outdoor Workers
Safety News Alert recently published an ironic story about a news station whose reporters learned firsthand about the dangers of outdoor work. An affiliate of KRDO was sent to talk to a sanitation worker and to talk to a sign installer about the risks of working outside in frigid temperatures. The workers talked about their jobs and about the safety precautions taken to prevent frostbite.
One of KRDO's own reporters really should have been listening. The reporter was onsite on a freezing day in early January to film a late news liveshot. He was without a video photographer, which has become more common as cameras have gotten smaller. He was trying to set up the tripod, equipment and camera to do his shot, but he couldn't get it set up correctly without taking his gloves off.
He did remove his gloves, exposing his hands to bitter cold weather on a night when the temperature was just 11 degrees. The result: severe frostbite that led to hospitalization. He luckily did not lose any fingers, and he was expected to recover. The news station is under fire for a lack of safety training for its own employees about winter weather.
Safety BLR has some some tips to help others workers stay safe and avoid injuries that could lead to hospitalization or even death. It is important for workers to:
- Be careful of slippery and icy-surfaces both inside and outside. People can track snow and ice into office buildings and other places of business. When floors get wet, they can be slippery and may lead to a slip and fall accident. Parking lots and outdoor walking areas are also prone to ice formation. Workers should wear slip-resistant shoes. If they work outdoors and are on icy surfaces regularly, they should practice walking safely on slippery surfaces by taking small steps.
- Know the early symptoms of hypothermia. These symptoms include shaking and shivering, loss of coordination, tiredness, and feelings of disorientation or confusion. Once hypothermia progresses, later symptoms include dilated pupils, a slowed pulse, blue skin, slowed breathing and eventual loss of consciousness.
- Take frequent rest breaks to get warm when working outdoors.
These are just a few of the key things that workers should do this cold season to try to avoid injury. Employers need to make sure workers are properly trained and provided with an appropriate work environment to stay safe from inclement weather.
A Scranton accident attorney at O'Malley & Langan can help. Call (800) 817-2667 today to schedule your free consultation. Serving Lackawanna, Luzerne, Bradford, Schuykill, Lehigh, Monroe, Wyoming and Wayne counties and surrounding areas.