The state’s workers’ compensation insurance system covers most employees in Kentucky — regardless of the industries in which they work. Victims of work-related injuries are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits . However, Federal safety authorities hold employers responsible for the protection of the health and safety of all employees.
Unfortunately, some employers disregard workers’ safety, and you may want to keep a lookout for known hazards — especially during the winter months. You may find comfort in knowing that the support and guidance of seasoned workers’ compensation attorneys are available to assist with the claims process if work-related injuries occur.
Ice, snow and other winter weather conditions bring with it many dangers that you may not consider at other times of the year. Here are three of the winter-related workplace hazards of which you may want to take note, and not rely entirely on your employer to protect you:
1. Slip-and-fall hazards: Walkways outside and inside work facilities form layers of ice that lead to a significant increase in slip-and-fall accidents during the winter. Preventing accidents requires almost full-time monitoring by maintenance crews to attend to icy and slippery areas outside, and puddles inside, that form when foot traffic and lift trucks bring in wetness. Wearing boots appropriate for wet conditions can also help to prevent slips.
2. Frostbite and other cold-related injuries: Maintenance crews, truck drivers, forklift drivers and other employees who spend most of their work hours outside must be trained to recognize the symptoms or early warning signs of hypothermia. Special boots, gloves and other protective clothing can limit the impact of extreme weather on the bodies of workers. Regular breaks in warm areas are advisable.
3. Snow removal equipment hazards: Snowplows and blowers that are used to prevent accidents like slips and falls have the potential to be hazardous. Any equipment with sharp, rotating parts can cause serious injuries — and even fatalities. Compliance with the safety regulations as prescribed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for operating powered industrial machines can prevent life-altering injuries. Only trained employees must operate these machines, and only after carrying out a pre-operation safety check.
If you are suffering the consequences of hypothermia, frostbite or another illness related to cold work environments, you will likely face substantial medical expenses. Such conditions typically lead to absences from work that can cause even more financial obstacles.
Pursuing financial relief is possible, but the process can be complicated. Fortunately, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can navigate the administrative and legal proceedings involved in filing benefits claims. The benefits typically cover medical expenses and a portion of lost wages; however, if your injuries caused disabilities, a skilled Kentucky lawyer can fight for the maximum amount of compensation to which you are entitled.