How workers can stay safe when removing snow

When the winter snows come and workers go out for the task of removal, new injury risks emerge. Workers in New Jersey should know that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has some tips on how to avoid the hazards of snow removal.

Eliminating snow from rooftops and other high places can pose specific dangers. Over the past 10 years, OSHA has investigated 16 cases of workers either injuring themselves or dying while performing this task. The organization recommends that workers calculate the effect that the weight of their bodies and equipment will have on the roof. Eye and head injuries can be common in the snow, so workers should wear protective gear and remove small amounts of snow at a time. When possible, they should use draglines or snow rakes to avoid going up a roof.

There have been cases of workers having body parts amputated after coming into contact with snow blowers or mechanized snow removal gear. Electrocution is all too common as well, so OSHA advises workers to stay at least 10 feet away from power lines. To avoid overexertion and musculoskeletal injuries, using a smaller shovel and lifting with the legs is the best method for snow removal. Workers should also drink plenty of fluids but not coffee or alcohol.

Employees who get injured while removing snow may receive workers’ compensation benefits to cover their medical expenses, lost wages and any future lost income if they get permanently disabled. This is where a lawyer can come in to strengthen a case. When accidents are the direct result of the employer’s negligence, victims could consider filing a lawsuit.

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