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Natural elements a danger to workers in the winter?

A fresh snowfall can make everything outside look like a winter wonderland. Children and adults alike anticipate some of the fun activities that snow can bring, such as skiing, snowboarding and sledding. But Colorado workers beware: a fresh snowfall can also be the cause of some workplace injuries.

There are a number of different situations in which snow can trigger an accident at work. Most commonly is the slip-and-fall accident. For example, a department store employee may slip on the wet floor near the front as a result of melted snow tracked in by patrons. Or a worker who is helping a customer in the parking lot or sidewalk outside of a store may slip on a sheet of ice.

For workers who are making sure skiers and snowboarders are staying safe on the slopes, there are other types of dangers that could cause an accident on the job. Equipment malfunction or unpredictable weather could be dangerous. But often, it's the cold temperatures that can do the most damage. If workers aren't able to take breaks and warm up, they could suffer from frostbite or even hypothermia.

Exposure to the elements may not seem like the cause for concern for an employee. But any type of workplace injury, as we've seen from a number of previous posts, can post a challenge for the injured employee. And despite the complex nature of filing a workers' compensation claim, these types of benefits can actually help a worker immensely.

The winter months bring a lot of fun outdoor activities and family gatherings. But it brings snow, ice and frigid temperatures as well. Both employers and employees should be making sure that workplaces are safe no matter what time of the year it is.

Source: World News Report, "Outdoor Workers Face Challenging Conditions During Winter," accessed Dec. 18, 2013.

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