At the end of 2019, CNBC reported on new data that indicated what the most dangerous jobs were in the country. These jobs included roofers, refuse and recycle collectors and construction workers. It seemed that almost every other job on the list involved a significant amount of outdoor work.
Working out in the elements, where the work environment could constantly change, can easily increase the risk that workers face. This particular risk might lead many workers to wonder if injuries resulting from these conditions are covered by workers’ compensation – especially with the cold weather and slippery conditions we have during the winter.
Are cold-weather injuries covered under workers’ compensation benefits?
The answer to that question is often, in fact, “yes.” The Maryland Workers’ Compensation Statute is a no-fault law, meaning that an injured worker need not prove that the accident and injury resulted from the negligence of their employer. While there are certain exceptions to a compensable accident, injuries related to the cold weather, such as slips and falls on ice or back injuries while shoveling snow at the request of an employer, are likely compensable accidents.
It is important to note that workers injured in slips and falls on ice or in other weather conditions might face challenges when seeking compensation for such injuries. Employers and insurance companies might push back, claiming the injury was not in the course of work.
In these situations, it is often beneficial to seek counsel with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney, so workers can determine how they can move forward to obtain compensation, whether through workers’ compensation or a personal injury claim.
Workers should take measures to stay safe in cold weather
If workers must be outdoors for their job during the winter, then they must take precautions to stay safe and prevent these common slip and fall accidents. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides some safety tips for workers if they must work outdoors, including:
- Wear appropriate footwear with traction and insulation;
- Request fall prevention training; and
- Carefully monitor the level of physical exertion in cold weather.
The dangerous conditions and the cold weather itself can increase the chance of work injuries. So, workers must make sure they take steps to stay safe this winter.