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Winter workplace injury concerns and prevention tips

Texas businesses have a responsibility to protect customers and employees from unsafe environments all year, but there are certain workplace hazards that are specific to the winter. It is essential to maintain a focus on workplace safety even as the holidays result in a large increase in customer traffic. Many retail businesses see a spike in sales in the fourth quarter, which can result in hazardous shop floors for customers. Warehouses also face a significant upturn in demands, which often result in pallet-racking systems that are too full for safe use.

Slip-and-fall accidents are examples of additional winter workplace hazards. OSHA advises business owners to invest in properly gripping footwear to prevent employees from falling and to coat floor surfaces with grit to improve traction even when wet. Good lighting is another effective way to prevent trips, slips and falls. Similarly, employers can post signs, always dry wet floors and discourage the use of fast walking to prevent falls.

When it is cold, outdoor employees become vulnerable to frostbite and hypothermia, neither of which should be ignored in the workplace. Cold working conditions also lead to dehydration, which may warrant provisions for bringing drinks into an office or other work environment. Eating also helps ward against the cold, as does dressing in warm clothing. Each of these are important components to creating a warm, safe work environment.

When employers fail to take the proper steps to protect employees from workplace accidents, injured victims may want to meet with an attorney to discuss how to proceed. The injured employee may be eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits, but an alternative remedy may be to file a personal injury lawsuit against the employer if the attorney can determine that employer negligence was the cause of the injury.

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