For many Virginia workers, the onset of winter means increased traffic hassles and delays during the daily commute. The stakes are much higher for employees whose job sites are the Great Outdoors. The weather can be hazardous and unpredictable, making workplace accidents a common occurrence. Though the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established safety recommendations and preparedness tips for employers, weather-related factors can still lead to severe injuries for workers.
If you were hurt in a workplace accident, a Virginia workers’ compensation attorney can explain your rights under state law. Plus, while it is not possible to forecast the weather with complete accuracy, it may help to know some of the top threats that may affect your job.
- Rain: Liquid precipitation makes surfaces extra slippery, potentially leading to falls at the same level or from a height. In addition, equipment can be slick and difficult to grasp, leading to drops. When working below such an incident, you may not even be aware of the threat in time to evade a falling object.
- Snow: Precipitation presents even more of a risk when it comes in frozen form. Surfaces are more slippery, especially if you are operating large machinery or a motorized vehicle. Plus, any accumulation of snow can hide potential hazards, increasing the likelihood that you will slip, trip, or fall over an object concealed under a white blanket.
- Wind: The primary threat with gusting wind affects workers performing job-related tasks at a height, such as on ladders, scaffolding, and cranes. If fall protection gear is not properly installed by your employer, a strong blast of wind could knock you down several feet to a hard surface below. Heavy winds can also cause irritation in the eyes, potentially affecting your visibility.
- Temperature: Cold weather is a harsh reality when you work outside all winter long, as frigid temperatures can cause hypothermia and frostbite. However, the other extreme can lead to severe medical issues, as well. The heat and humidity of Virginia summers may cause heat exhaustion and dehydration. The worst-case scenario is heat stroke, which may result in kidney failure and eventual death if you do not seek immediate medical care.
- Lightning: There are many conductive materials present in outdoor work environments, which are not subject to the same protections as interior sites. A direct strike can be fatal for a victim, but lightning can also cause fires, electrocution, and explosions when it hits equipment, vehicles, tools, and other objects.
- Fog: The biggest challenge with fog is visibility. Anyone operating a motorized vehicle, heavy equipment, or large tools is at risk of causing injuries to themselves or others.
Talk to a Virginia Workers’ Comp Attorney About Weather and Work-Related Accidents
Employees who are injured in on-the-job accidents have rights under Virginia workers’ compensation laws, whether the cause is weather or some other safety threat. If you are eligible, you can file a claim to obtain amounts for your medical bills, lost wages, and other monetary benefits. To learn more, please call Hampton Injury Law PLC to set up a complimentary case evaluation. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can review your circumstances and assist with the claims process.