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All workers should prepare in order to stay safe this winter

Last week, we noted that construction workers, first responders and other employees who work out of doors are especially vulnerable to cold stress this time of year. However, it is important to remember that winter makes all employees who live in the north vulnerable to certain kinds of work-related injuries and illnesses.

Even office workers need to be conscious of the unique hazards that winter brings to the workplace. For example, a significantly increased number of workers suffer from trips, slips and falls in the winter months. It is nearly impossible to avoid tracking snow, slush and general wetness into the workplace at this time of year. As a result, slippery floors should be avoided.

If your workplace lobby and other areas are not carpeted, it is vital that precautionary measures are taken by your employer to help you avoid trips, slips and falls on potentially wet surfaces. If your employer fails to take these precautions and you are injured as a result, you may be able to receive workers' compensation benefits for your injuries.

In addition, beware of icy surfaces in the parking lots, garages, sidewalks and entryways to your building. Employers should put down salt or sand in order to reduce the risk of slipping, but they are not always prompt or thorough in their efforts.

If workers of all kinds heed any safety-related advice this winter it should be this: watch out and be careful. Even ordinarily safety-conscious employers might not be on their game at all times and you could suffer severe injury if you fail to stay alert regarding unique winter safety hazards.

Source: State Compensation Insurance Fund, "Winter Hazards and Workplace Safety"

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