At times, winter in New York City can be brutal. Bone-chilling cold, snow and ice are all par for the course this time of year and employers should take steps to protect employees from suffering the ill-effects of all three. Regarding the actual cold temperatures, workers who work outdoors or in unheated warehouses are not only at an increased risk of suffering frostbite and hypothermia, but also dehydration. It's important, therefore to ensure that workers take breaks from the cold, have access to water and wear appropriate winter gear.
Where there's snow, there's bound to be ice and wetness and employers would be wise to remind employees of the slip, trip and fall risks that are commonly associated with winter weather conditions. Additionally, employers can work to reduce slip and trip hazards by posting when surfaces are wet or slippery as well as ensuring that workers have shoes or boots with gripped treads.
While the actual winter weather presents safety challenges for New York City workers, this time of year is also extremely busy for many businesses. From retail and grocery stores to warehouses and hotels, during the holiday season increased demand for products and services often means that employers are overloaded with responsibilities. Consequently, both employers and employers may become more lax when it comes to following safety regulations and rules.
In truth, the more chaotic and hectic the work environment, the more likely that workers or customers will suffer injury. From a retail employee who suffers a head injury when improperly stacked merchandise boxes topple down to a warehouse worker who is the victim of a forklift backover accident during prime holiday shopping season, during the winter months, safety must continue to be a priority for employers and employees alike.
Source: EHS Today, "Don’t Let Safety Get Snowed Under: 3 Workplace Dangers to Watch Out for This Winter," Justin O'Sullivan, Dec. 8, 2015