Don’t Let Winter Weather Cause Slips, Trips and Falls

Of the 5,190 workplace fatalities that occurred in 2016, 849 were due to slips, trips and falls. Although such incidents can happen year-round, winter weather conditions can increase the risk.

Despite ’s best efforts to keep the workplace safe, rain, snow and ice can create hazardous conditions, not just in outdoor areas, but also indoors. Here are some simple tips to avoid slips, trips and falls during wintery conditions:

  • When you enter a building, use provided rugs and mats to dry your footwear.
  • When walking, pay attention to where you are going and have your hands available to steady yourself if you slip. Avoid carrying heavy loads that may affect your balance.
  • If you notice hazardous areas, mark them with temporary signs or inform janitorial staff.
  • Wear footwear with heavy treads for increased traction if you work outside.
  • Don’t rush. Give yourself sufficient time to get where you need to be.
  • Step, don’t jump, from vehicles.
  • Use handrails wherever they are provided so you can prevent yourself from falling if you slip.

If you do slip and fall, make it easy for people to assist you. That means making yourself easily accessible and visible. For example, wear a brightly colored jacket if your job requires you to work outdoors.

Workplace Burns and How to Treat Them

National Burn Awareness Week is Feb. 4-10, and this year’s focus is on scald prevention, a common concern for employees who deal with hot liquids and steam on a regular basis.

It is important to treat burns as soon as possible to prevent infection. Proper treatment depends on whether the burn is major or minor. Minor burns can be first-degree or second-degree and are smaller than 2-3 inches. They may blister and have a fair amount of swelling.

The American Burn Association recommends the following treatment for minor burns:

  • Cool the burn with running, cool water (not cold) for at least five minutes. Don’t use ice, which can cause further damage.
  • Remove jewelry and clothing around the burned area as soon as possible.
  • Cover the burn with a sterile bandage or cloth, wrapping it loosely to avoid putting too much pressure on the burned tissue.
  • Leave blisters intact; do not break them.
  • Avoid using home remedies like butter or ointments, which can trap the heat in the tissue and worsen the burn.

If a burn is larger than 2-3 inches or covers major joints or functional body parts, seek immediate medical attention to have the burn evaluated. Failure to seek medical treatment could result in permanent loss of function or disfigurement.

What are the Different Types of Burns?

First Degree Burns

These burns cause minor skin damage to the outermost layer of the skin (epidermis), resulting in pain and redness.

Second Degree Burns

These burns damage both the epidermis and the lower layer (dermis), resulting in pain, redness, swelling and blistering.

Third Degree Burns

These burns affect the layers of the skin as well as deeper tissues, resulting in white or blackened skin, possible numbness and even shock.

Fatal slips, trips and falls in workplaces have increased by 25 percent since 2011.

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