Illinois winters can be long and harsh. When people are required to work in snowy, icy, windy or stormy conditions, their risk of cold-related disability is high. Manufacturers and other employers need to take the necessary precautions to keep their workers safe. When employees are working on outdoor sites or in a factory setting, the winter season calls for extra vigilance. Worker comp lawyers in Crystal Lake are aware that a little prevention can help companies avoid serious cases of cold injury.
Precautions for winter driving
Many employees are required to drive between work sites or manufacturing sites during winter weather. They may also operate vehicles in and around large sites. When temperatures drop below freezing, it is crucial to follow safety precautions during driving or hauling.
Every company vehicle must include an emergency kit containing all of the following safety items:
- Two-way radio or functioning cellular phone
- Tow chains
- Jumper cables
- Equipment for scraping, shoveling and brushing snow or ice
- Adequate emergency lighting with spare batteries
By carrying these items in company vehicles, workers can stay safe during winter projects.
Staying safe while walking on snow and ice
Winter transport is also dangerous when employees are on foot, as worker comp lawyers in Crystal Lake know. Manufacturers must keep all paths and walking surfaces clear for their workers. All employees must wear proper footwear with correct traction. Water resistant boots with proper insulation are important for people who work in cold or wet environments. Employees can also cut down on the risk of falls and serious injuries by walking at a reduced pace and paying attention to possible hazards.
Know the signs of cold stress
Employees and supervisors should know the signs of severe cold stress. Hypothermia, a serious condition caused by decreased body temperature, can be fatal if it is not recognized and treated promptly. The weather does not need to be extremely cold for this condition to occur. According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, hypothermia on the job may set in at ambient temperatures as high as 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Symptoms include disorientation, severe shivering, dilated pupils, slowed breathing and unconsciousness. Hypothermia victims must be rescued immediately and brought to a warm, safe place.
Workers: know your rights
Illinois industry does not stop when the weather turns frigid. Workers have the right to a safe environment all year round. Employees who have suffered cold injury might consider speaking to worker comp lawyers in Crystal Lake.