Do workers compensation claims spike during winter months? According to workers compensation lawyers, the answer is yes — and, over the past few years, particularly long and cold winters have made matters even worse. “Winter-related slips and falls claims doubled in 2013 to 2014 over the previous year, representing 29% of all workers’ compensation claims,” Environment Health And Safety (EHS) Today writes. There are several ways employers can help keep workers safe in winter conditions, and ultimately reduce the likelihood of job lawsuits. Here are just a few.

Consider Winter-Specific Safety Training

Gentle reminders about winter hazards are always a good idea, and worker safety during summer months isn’t the same as employee safety in the winter. The winter season poses additional hazards, like ice and snow, and they can make a big difference. Help prevent workers from getting hurt on the job by reminding them to look out for black ice and wear slip-resistant winter boots (at least to and from their vehicles). Advising employees to be especially cautious when getting in and out of their cars and to keep their hands free should they need them to catch and stabilize themselves is important, too.

Do Your Part

Of course, employees should do their part — but that doesn’t mean companies are off the hook. Small and large businesses alike should make certain they are taking adequate measures to keep winter-related workers compensation claims to a minimum. All businesses should carefully stay on top of snow removal (and that includes using salt to keep walkways safe!). Warning signs should be used in especially slippery areas, or areas awaiting snow removal. If and when accidents happen, employees receiving workers compensation generally get 50 to 70% of their regular pay, and 86% of employers have a program to help these employees ultimately return to work. When employees receive workers compensation, they forgo rights to sue for negligence as well.

Getting hurt on the job can be a very serious thing — causing companies thousands (sometimes even millions!). Keep work environments safe this winter with a little extra safety training, and with careful attention to snow removal and maintenance.