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Colder weather creates legal concerns for employers

When colder weather strikes in Pennsylvania, many people stay at home to keep warm and cozy. Unfortunately, outdoor work still needs to get done, and workers in cold conditions may face a variety of safety risks. Slips, falls and frostbite are among the top concerns for outdoor workers. Injuries can also occur due to falling ice and malfunctioning equipment that has been poorly maintained by an employer.

In order to keep workers safe outdoors during the winter months, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration recommends that employers consider a worker's background and safety training before sending them out in the cold. Workers who have not been trained to handle certain pieces of equipment during the colder season could suffer injuries. Those without proper safety equipment could also end up suffering.

OSHA states that all employers have a general duty under the law to protect workers, meaning employers are required to recognize potential hazards and plan accordingly to eliminate or reduce risks on the job. In winter conditions, employers need to monitor changing weather predictions and act accordingly to ensure worker safety. State laws may also apply when it comes to workers' rights, an employer's duty to act and the requirements of workers' compensation after an injury accident.

Although laws exist to govern workers' compensation, some employers make the process difficult by refusing to pay for medical costs or other required benefits. In such cases, the legal process to seek recourse can be fraught with difficulty and complexities. When this occurs, injured workers often work with attorneys to navigate the legalities involved in seeking compensation.

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