The winter months tend to be the most common times of the year for workers to slip and suffer a fall injury. A large portion of the nation deals with colder weather that can freeze the sidewalks and harsh winds that can throw off their balance. January is often the peak of the season where the cold and hazardous conditions are at their worst.
With California, the effects of winter can vary. Some parts of the state have ski resorts, while others won’t see a single snowflake. However, even those areas often see an increase in rainstorms around this time, so the threat of a fall injury is still present. At last year’s OSHA Summit, there were over 20,000 fall injuries in California back in 2015 alone. It is often the outdoor positions who have the highest risk, so the following workers should watch their steps outside for the season:
Construction workers have some of the most dangerous jobs out there, and this tends to be one of the most common injuries on the job. According to the National Safety Council, the construction industry has the highest rate of fall injuries and fatalities. While there have been some improvements in the last couple of years such as the state requiring guard rails on work locations, a lot of California workers will be walking on steel that is wet from snow or rain during the winter months. These surfaces need cleaning as soon as possible to decrease the worker’s chances of falling.
The transportation industry also ranks high when it comes to fall injuries, and they are at a disadvantage when it comes to California’s winters. As mentioned earlier, California’s winter climate varies throughout the state. This means that a driver could start at a place where it’s over 60 degrees and end up in a city where it’s around 20 degrees and snowing. Truck drivers should have winter clothing stored in their car no matter where they start at and should keep updated on their destination’s weather predictions.
These employees get thousands of injuries every year from being on their feet all day. Even though they are not outside as often as other jobs during the winter, OSHA warns these workers to be careful around matting that either dries their feet or decreases their fatigue. They also encourage warehouses in the colder regions to wear anti-fatigue footwear to prevent stiff ankles from the chilly weather.
With the high risk of suffering a fall injury in the winter, workers should know what legal options they have available for workers’ compensation in the event of an injury. California employers need to take several precautions to ensure that the workplace is safe and that the workers will not slip on the property.