The most typical worker injuries during the cold weather months include those suffered in slips, trips and falls. Although these are common worker accidents throughout the year, icy conditions make them more likely to happen in Maryland winters. However, slips and falls are not the only incidents that take place. Hypothermia, frostbite and wind burn are also likely to injure workers.
One way employers should ensure fewer slip and fall accidents during winter is by spreading de-icer quickly after a winter storm takes place. Employees should also be told how to recognize cold stress, which is a drop in skin temperature, resulting in a decrease in internal body temperature. Wind chills and wetness can make heat leave the body quickly. Trench foot, frostbite and hypothermia are just some examples of cold stress. Trench foot is caused by extended exposure to wet and cold conditions and can cause numbness and blisters. Frostbite can even cause permanent damage to the body.
Whereas wearing multiple layers of warm clothing, drinking hot beverages and taking short, regular breaks can decrease a person’s chances of injuries resulting from exposure to cold conditions, employees still get hurt regularly in winter months.
Injured workers may be able to collect workers’ compensation benefits to cover medical expenses incurred by their injuries. Unlike a personal injury lawsuit, a claim for workers’ compensation benefits does not require a showing of negligence. So long as the accident happened while the worker was at the job site or performing their job duties, an injured worker should be able to collect benefits to help with medical expenses and lost wages while they are recovering. However, successfully navigating the workers’ compensation bureaucracy, and overcoming any difficulties that arise in the process, can be sometimes be very difficult. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help the injured and their families explore their options.