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Nearly one-third of all Midwest workers compensation claims that resulted in time away from work last winter were caused by slips and falls on ice and snow, nearly double the normal average, likely because of the extremely harsh weather conditions, according to a study released Thursday.
Winter-related slips and falls claims represented an average of 29% of all workers comp claims in five Midwest states, said the safety campaign by Lansing, Michigan-based Accident Fund Insurance Co. of America and New Berlin, Wisconsin-based United Heartland Inc.
In Indiana, 37% of all claims in late January and early February of this year were for slips and falls on ice and snow. Meanwhile, winter-related slips and falls during that time accounted for 33% of claims in Wisconsin, 32% in both Michigan and Illinois, and 29% in Minnesota.
“The Midwest and nearby states, including Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri, were hit particularly hard last year, but other regions also experienced their share of icy conditions,” United Heartland President Steve Cooper said in a statement.
To stay safe this winter, Accident Fund and United Heartland recommend walking slowly and wearing slip-resistant footwear, being prepared for black ice, and not carrying items, as keeping hands empty leaves arms are free to move for stabilization, according to the statement.
“Winter-related slips and falls have a significant negative impact on American businesses each year, resulting in time off work, temporary employee costs, overtime for existing employees and increased insurance costs,” Mike Britt, president of Accident Fund, said in the statement. “To avoid these costs this winter, employers need to be extra vigilant, and employees should exercise extreme caution in the months ahead.”
Severe winter weather caused more than $1 billion in insured damage globally in February, according to an analysis issued Thursday by Aon Benfield Group Ltd.'s Impact Forecasting unit.