Myra Piper, CIC
At Accident Fund, we focus on the safety of your employees. Part of that focus is educating you on hazards that arise in the workplace throughout the year. As we approach winter and the weather it brings, we’re once again rolling out our S.A.F.E.: Slip and Fall Elimination campaign to help you prevent injuries all winter long. You can expect to see new information every month as we battle back against Mother Nature.
Get out in front of the storm
Whether you’re in the path of an impending snowstorm or currently in the process of evaluating your winter safety plan, preparedness is critical to keeping your employees safe. That’s because the potential for injury is high during the winter season:
- Each year, dozens of Americans die due to exposure to cold.
- Hypothermia and frostbite can lead to loss of fingers and toes or cause permanent kidney, pancreas and liver injury or even death.
- Winter storms are unpredictable and can last for several days. Most involve high winds, freezing rain or sleet, heavy snowfall and frigid temperatures.
- People can become trapped in their car if caught in a winter storm — an especially important point if your company employs drivers or has teammates who travel for work.
- The aftermath of a winter storm can have an impact on a community or region for days, weeks or even months.
- Extremely cold temperatures, heavy snow and flooding can cause hazardous conditions and hidden risks.
Stay safer this season
Before winter arrives, we encourage you to think about how best to prepare your business for the winter season. There are a variety of things to think about before the first snowfall, including:
- Ensuring you have access to weather advisory alert systems
- Tuning up snow blowers and other snow removal equipment
- Having a plan in place when off-premise work is necessary
- Maintaining a supply of salt and other ice melters
- Obtaining proper footwear for the winter season
- Putting entryway mats and housekeeping supplies in place
Once winter is upon us, practice the safety precautions below, and encourage your employees to do the same, so winter weather-related injuries can be reduced or avoided altogether:
- Walk carefully on snowy or icy sidewalks.
- If you’re responsible for shoveling snow, be extremely careful, as it’s physically strenuous work. Take frequent breaks. Avoid overexertion, since heart attacks from shoveling heavy snow are a leading cause of deaths during winter.
- When travelling by car, keep the gas tank full to prevent your fuel line from freezing. Always let someone know your destination, the route you are taking and when you expect to arrive.
- If you do get stuck, stay with your car — don’t try to walk to safety.
- Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna for rescuers to see.
- Start the car and use the heater for about 10 minutes every hour and keep the exhaust pipe clear so fumes don’t back up in the car.
- Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running so you can be seen.
- As you sit, move your arms and legs to keep blood circulating and stay warm.
- Keep one window cracked open to let in air.
- After the storm, avoid driving until conditions have improved — listen to local radio and television stations for updates.
With tools like our Winter Weather Preparedness Guidebook, you’ll be well-prepared for what to do when winter weather strikes. Accident Fund policyholders can also log into our website for a variety of additional safety tools and tips.
Accident Fund Insurance Company of America
Founded in 1912 and headquartered in Lansing, Mich., Accident Fund Insurance Company of America is a licensed workers’ compensation insurer in 48 states and the District of Columbia. Accident Fund is rated “A-” (Excellent) by A.M. Best and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Accident Fund Holdings, Inc., the 13th largest workers’ compensation insurer in the United States.