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Keeping employees safe during outdoor winter work

On Behalf of | Nov 29, 2018 | Workers' Compensation |

Winter in Kentucky brings with it several challenges for outdoor workers, including cold and windy conditions, icy surfaces and the possibility of snow cave-ins. At its Winter Weather resource site, OSHA lays out some of the precautions that employers must take to keep their employees safe. The following is a brief outline.

One of the most hazardous jobs that a worker can undertake during the winter is rooftop snow removal. While OSHA has no specific guidelines for this, the organization provides guidelines on the use of fall protection systems, ladders and aerial lifts, any of which could be applied to rooftop snow removal. Hazard training is essential for specific tasks like snow removal, working at high elevations and driving in snow.

When employees are driving over snowy and icy roads, employers should designate the work zone with signs, cones and barriers. Before this, though, vehicles should be inspected to see if they will hold up in the cold. The areas that need the most thorough inspecting include the brakes, engine, exhaust, oil and visibility systems.

Whenever possible, workers should use a method of rooftop snow removal that does not require them to go on the roof; for example, they could use snow rakes or drag lines. Last but not least, employees should wear the right personal protective equipment, such as gloves and eye protection.

Injured employees may be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits that cover their medical expenses and part of their lost income. To be eligible, they don’t need to show that anyone was at fault; however, if they were to blame for their own injuries, the claim may be denied. Whatever the situation, victims may want a lawyer to assist with the filing and, if necessary, with the appeal. A lawyer may also be able to explain the pros and cons of choosing to settle.