If you live in Illinois during the winter months, you will no doubt experience severe winter weather. Local radio and TV stations alert us to winter-related watches and warnings. The four levels are: 1) Winter weather advisory; 2) Winter storm watch; 3) Winter storm warning; 4) Blizzard warning. Sometimes it feels like we’ll have all four in one day.
At the least severe level (1), “Weather conditions are expected to cause difficulty and might be dangerous.” At the most severe level (4), everyone is advised to “Stay indoors and avoid travel.”
Unfortunately, there are workers who have no choice but to do their jobs in this hazardous weather. They include:
• Utility workers
• Construction workers
• Streets and sanitation workers
• Snow removal workers
• Truck drivers
• Delivery services
• First responders (police, firemen, ambulance personnel)
This list doesn’t include others that have to make it to work in most cases like nurses, teachers, and really just about everyone else. the terrible weather can lead to many more parking lot falls from snow and ice as well as car accidents while traveling to client sites.
Even when prepared and dressed for the weather, working in extreme weather conditions puts workers at a high risk for exposure injuries such as frostbite and hypothermia. Frostbite occurs when the skin and body tissue freeze. The person has a loss of feeling, usually in the fingers, toes, ears and/or the tip of the nose. Hypothermia occurs when the body’s temperature goes below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Hypothermia symptoms include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, memory loss, slurred speech, and fumbling hands.
In addition to exposure injuries, workers are at a higher risk for slip and fall injuries and injuries from car and truck accidents. Sidewalks and streets may be icy and slippery, visibility may be poor, and company vehicles may not be properly winterized. There’s also the issue of outsiders dragging water into stores or places of business from slush on their shoes. Every year we see Jewel, Mariano’s and other grocery store workers injured this way and are seeing it a lot at factories and hospitals too. It’s a constant battle to dry to keep floors dry and often an impossible one.
If you have been injured while on the job during extreme winter weather, we can help you get the workers compensation benefits you deserve. We have been helping injured Illinois workers for over 25 years and there isn’t a situation that we haven’t seen before. Give us a call any time for a free consultation at 312-346-5578. We cover all of Illinois via our state wide network and would be thrilled to help you.