For many of us in the Northeast this has been a brutal week filled with snow and ice – at our home office we have seen a foot this week already, the best part of it was watching my Philadelphia Eagles prevail victorious in the now dubbed Snow Bowl. Many people are either stuck facing treacherous road conditions to get in, or are working from home. For many employers weather like this can cause quite an increase in workers comp claims with employees slipping and falling, and in some cases coming and going to and from work.
The exception that I speak of regarding the coming and going is know as the “parking lot rule,” meaning if an employee slips and falls in the parking lot or an area that the employer has control over that injury can be subject to workers comp benefits. This can become a tricky situation in many cases.
In a recent interview conducted by the team at Acrometis a discussion came up where a participant who is in a retail establishment said that their largest exposure to claims also came when their revenue was at its lowest as customers are either not traveling in the bad weather or do not want to get out of their cars and brave the elements. Does this present a double whammy to your work comp costs? You now have a higher exposure rate and are bring in less revenue. Does this require you to budget better for the winter months? Does this require you to set aside reserves for these incidents? I would love to hear some feedback from the gallery out there on your thoughts on this topic.
There are things are employers can be doing to be more proactive to ensure employees safety. Make sure that either your landlord or whoever you contract with to do your parking lots and sidewalks does a proper job, and that they follow up when remelted snow ices up. Make sure that there is a carpet at entrances that employees can wipe their feet on so they do not slip, and regularly mop tile floors even with the mat being down.
Everyone loves a good snow storm now and then, but lets be mindful that these cause conditions that we do not deal with frequently and sometimes forget to take extra safety into account. No employee wants to be laid up during the holiday season so lets make sure we are taking extra precautions. For employers doing everything you can to ensure the safety of your employees will help keep comp claims down especially if you are seeing a decrease in revenue from a customer standpoint.