The winter months in Rhode Island typically feature cold temperatures, snow and other hazards that can make working outdoors hazardous. However, understanding the risks that you face can make it easier to take proactive steps to protect yourself. If you are hurt while working outside for any reason, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
Moisture can pose multiple threats
Water that freezes on a parking lot, staircase or other surfaces that you interact with may create a slip, trip or fall hazard. If your skin or clothing gets wet, it can significantly lower your body temperature, which can make you vulnerable to hypothermia. Ideally, you will wear clothing that is waterproof to protect yourself against anything from walking through a puddle to sweating too much while performing strenuous activities.
Watch out for frostbite
Frostbite can occur when skin is exposed to cold temperatures for as little as 20 minutes. Signs of frostbite include tingling or numbness as well as skin that turns purple or black. If your workers’ compensation claim is approved, you’ll have access to money to pay for medical treatment for frostbite or other injuries incurred while performing tasks for an employer in cold weather. If your skin does get cold or numb, you can run lukewarm water over it to slowly warm it up. Using water that is too hot may actually cause more damage to your hands, feet or other exposed body parts.
Working outside can be done safely in most cases assuming that you have access to the proper equipment. However, even if you do take precautions, accidents can still happen while performing tasks outdoors. Videos, photos or other evidence may be used to prove that you were injured at work and should receive workers’ compensation benefits.