When the weather is mild, working outdoors is a dream come true. In the winter, freezing temperatures and the accompanying ice and snow can quickly turn that dream into a nine-to-five nightmare. Snow and ice are not common problems in most of Texas, but this is precisely why so many people are unprepared when it strikes.
Forbes identifies winter weather as one of the most dangerous hazards for people while commuting to work and from work, as well as while on the job. In January 2019, winter claimed the lives of 21 people. In 2017 alone, accidents involving snow, sleet and ice led to 20,000 injuries. While employers certainly cannot prevent these conditions, they should do all they can to reduce the risks associated with them. Employees too should take extra caution as employers do not always have their best interests at heart.
The United States Department of Labor makes the following recommendations for surviving winter as a worker:
- Commercial drivers should ensure they complete checks of their vehicles for the winter season.
- Pack an emergency kit and keep it in the trunk of the vehicle, especially the work vehicle.
- When stranded in a vehicle because of bad winter weather involving snow and ice, it is best to remain in the vehicle and call for help.
- Temperatures can drop at any time, so wearing property footwear and watching out for ice is key.
Winter can present a work hazard even when people work inside an office. This is because commuting to work comes with hazards too. Unfortunately, in most instances, accidents on the way to work are not covered under workers’ compensation so be extra careful.