Construction work is an inherently dangerous, but very important job. Construction workers risk their health and safety every day to build and repair things for the betterment of their communities. Working outdoors during the winter can be more hazardous than usual with the risk of cold stress, slipping on snow or ice, or muscle strain caused by strenuous snow removal. Learning about these hazards and how to stay safe can make a world of difference. Some of the more common winter hazards faced by those in the construction industry include:
Slip and Fall Injuries
Because construction workers are frequently required to work on rooftops or scaffolding, slip and fall injuries are unfortunately common. During the wintertime, layers of ice can form as temperatures drop, making surfaces slick and slippery. Scaffolding can freeze more quickly than the ground due to wind chill. It is helpful to spread salt to prevent falls, wear appropriate footwear, and walk slowly.
When elevated surfaces are covered with snow, the integrity of the structure can become compromised. Someone with expertise should inspect surfaces weighed down by snow to ensure they are not in danger of collapsing onto workers. Skylights can be particularly problematic for construction workers as they are invisible under snow and may not be able to bear heavy loads. Personal protective equipment, such as fall arrest systems and non-slip safety boots, can help reduce these risks.
Work Zones in Traffic
When construction workers are doing a job near traffic, there is always the risk of being struck by a car. This risk increases exponentially during wintry weather because cars can lose control on black ice or sleet covered roads. To reduce the risk of these accidents, it is important to properly set up work zones with signs, cones, barrels, or barriers as appropriate. Anyone working near traffic should always wear a high visibility vest so that motorists can easily see them.
Snow Removal Around Construction Sites
Someone on a job site should be responsible for clearing snow from the work area. Make sure that snow removal equipment, such as electric or gas operated snow blowers, are properly grounded and guarded. When using a snow blower, never attempt to clear a jam by hand when the snow blower is turned on, as this can result in lacerations or amputated limbs. Do not attempt to add fuel to a snow blower while the equipment is running or when the engine is hot, as this could contribute to the risk of burn injuries from fire.
Power Line Injuries
Snow and ice can cause power lines to fall, or trees to fall into them. Working near downed power lines can create a risk of electrocution. Sometimes, it can be difficult to see a downed line if it is covered with snow—particularly if you are working on a roof. Always remove snow from surfaces so you can see what you are walking on.
New Jersey Construction Accident Lawyers Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP Represent Victims of Winter Construction AccidentsDuring the winter, construction workers are at risk for more injuries. If you or someone you love has been hurt, an experienced New Jersey construction accident lawyer at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP can provide you with a free consultation. Call us today at 732-777-0100 or contact us online.