Occupational Weather Hazards
Weather plays a huge roll in many peoples work environments. OSHA and other agencies can make speculation in what is generally safe and unsafe. But when it’s deciding how to handle changing weather conditions, it can be a little difficult to pin down.
Weather hazards lead to injuries, and workers compensation claims fairly often. If you believe that your injury was a result of weather hazards, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have a chance for claim approval. Work with your worker’s compensation lawyer to get help in navigating these murky legal waters.
Snow and Ice Slips
It’s no surprise that snow and ice contribute to a significant amount of slip and fall injuries. It’s important that employers salt walkways and keep other work areas clear of hazards. But there are times when working in snow and ice is unavoidable.
There are a few steps that employers can take to prevent falls, such as implementing the use of fall protection safety equipment and deciding when working conditions are not safe. The best thing that employers can do to prevent slip and falls due to ice and snow is to train their staff properly.
Training can deter many injuries when it comes to severe weather hazards, and other safety equipment can play a large role in prevention as well. Ultimately though your employer needs to know when it is blatantly not safe to work, cold weather can lead to more than just slip and falls injuries.
Cold weather also contributes to illness and injuries from affected equipment. When heavy machinery becomes too cold, it can malfunction and lead to serious injury and even death. Handling heavy machinery in dangerous weather is unsafe.
If you were hurt during weather that was too cold to work in, or unsafe because of cold weather hazards, you need legal help for your worker’s compensation claim.
Your employer’s workers comp insurance company may try to deny your claim based on uncontrollable conditions. But your employer should have been able to identify the unsafe working conditions before you got hurt.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, NIOSH, addresses heat stress as a primary concern for those who work in hot environments. Heat stress often leads to heat stroke, cramps, rashes, and exhaustion. There are other factors of risk that come into play with heat exposure as well, though.
In addition to heat stress direct issues, there is the risk that comes from the physical reaction to heat such as sweaty palms, fogged safety glasses, and dizziness. For those working in high places, heat stress can lead to falls and dropping of hand equipment. Dizziness also contributes to a substantial amount of burns where someone received a burn while trying to steady themselves on a nearby object that was simply too hot.
Heat exposure is a primary root cause of many preventable workplace accidents.
To avoid heat exposure, many employers, have a cut-off temperature or cap for how hot the internal or external temperate can be before ceasing activity.
Outdoor environments are generally unpredictable and vary wildly throughout different regions of the country. Within the New England area, locals know to expect harsh weathers, hot summers, and severe wind.
Working outdoors makes you susceptible to all of these elements, and working in these conditions is dangerous. Work with your employer to put safety standards in place. Determine how hot is too hot to work and how cold is too cold.
If you’re taking on the task of bringing these issues to your employer’s attention, you should focus on clear-set lines such as 100-degrees outdoors is too hot for those working in high areas. Or, ongoing snowfall is unsafe for those handling tools or walking on unstable surfaces.
Putting expectations of safety on unpredictable weather patterns might seem unreasonable, but many employers already have these precautions in place. If you feel that your lawyer often pushes outdoor work environments to the limits, contact OSHA and a lawyer.
Contact a Washington DC Workers Compensation Attorney
Weather hazards often lead to preventable accidents and injury. If you were injured because your employer is unable to react to changing working conditions, you need legal help.
There are regulating bodies, and safety expectations in place to protect employees from unsafe working conditions. In these instances, you may need to pursue legal action outside of closing your worker’s compensation claim.
Reach out online or call the law offices of Ashcraft and Gerel for help with your claim and your case. Speak with a lawyer that works with injured employees often.