The snow is coming to many regions of the country a whole lot earlier this year.
That means it’s time to start talking about worker safety. Each year, there are workers seriously injured and even killed while completing ice or snow removal jobs from rooftops and other buildings and structures. According to officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), falls and heart attacks are among the leading causes. What’s most alarming, according to officials, is that these incidents could have been prevented.
Workers are hired or assigned to remove snow and ice for a number of reasons. Removal can help to prevent overloading and collapse. Whatever the reason is for the removal process, our Rock Hill workers’ compensation attorneys understand that safety needs to be the number one concern. In most cases, these workers will climb right on to the roof and use equipment like snow rakes, shovels, ladders and even snow blowers. Workers are urged to even use aerial lifts that can help them to apply deicing materials. The truth of the matter is that these jobs are carried out in some of the most extreme work conditions and many times, these workers have little experience on the job and haven’t been provided with the proper training.
These employees are exposed to some of the most serious dangers. Based on OSHA’s injury data, falls are the most common causes of injuries and fatalities for these workers. They can fall through skylights, they can fall off of roof edges and they can even fall off of aerial lists and ladders.
Other hazards for these workers:
-Injuries from snow blowers and mechanized equipment.
-Musculoskeletal injuries from overexertion.
-Tip-overs with aerial lifts.
How to prevent these kinds of accidents:
-Try to use snow removal methods (when possible) that don’t involve workers going on the roof.
-Evaluating loads exerted on structure or roof, meaning calculating the total weight of the snow, the workers and the equipment being used) and comparing that to the load limit of the roof or structure.
-Making sure that all workers are using the proper fall protection.
-Make sure that workers are properly trained on all equipment being used for the job.
You should always try to remove the snow without having to go on top of a roof or structure. You should do this by using ladders to apply deicing materials. You can also use drag lines or rakes from the ground to scrape the ice off. While you need to be cautious when using these devices, it can be a heck of a lot safer when done from the ground. Be safe out there and let’s get through the snowy winter season safely!
Have you or a loved one been injured on the job? Contact the Lee Law Offices today for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call 800-887-1965.
More Blog Entries:
Keeping Young Workers Safe on the Job in North Carolina, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, November 8, 2012
State and Federal OSHA – A Question of Proper Enforcement, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, November 6, 2012