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Five winter safety tips for construction sites

The following are just five tips that construction site owners and managers in New Jersey can consider when preparing for winter. This way, they can prevent employees from being injured on the job. The first step is to inspect the premises for any potholes or uneven surfaces. Any fluids in work equipment should be replaced if they are not rated for the area’s low temperatures.

The next tip concerns snow removal. Employees with a high risk for heart attack, especially men over 45 and women over 55, should generally not be allowed to shovel snow. If snow removal equipment is used, workers should distribute grit over the slippery surfaces it creates.

Icy surfaces, a leading cause of slip-and-fall injuries, are the subject of the third tip. Handrails, ladders, stairs and walkways should be free of ice and snow. Employers should post signs preventing access wherever removal is not possible.

Prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures will result in cold stress, which, in turn, can lead to hypothermia, frostbite or chilblains. If work cannot be rescheduled around cold conditions, managers could shorten the shifts and provide warm shelters and hot drinks. Lastly, employers must ensure that personal protection equipment is right for the job and does not hinder workers’ mobility and vision. Gloves and boots, for example, should be waterproof.

Those who are injured on the job may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim and be covered for medical expenses and a percentage of their lost wages. To be eligible, victims are not required to prove that anyone was negligent, but they still will want a lawyer by their side. An attorney could bring in medical experts to show that the reported injuries were caused by an accident. If the claim is denied, he or she could assist with the appeal.