A winter storm can cause major problems, especially when it involves heavy snow, freezing rain, and single-digit temperatures. While most of us can cozy up inside, others are working hard to plow and salt the roads, clear away fallen trees and branches, and repair power lines that have come down. Being outside for an extended period in the extreme cold can be dangerous. Workers who are responsible for clearing a winter mess or working outside in winter weather conditions face a range of other dangerous situations. The following are examples of some of the winter weather-related hazards that workers face, and the steps they can take to avoid becoming injured.
Winter Driving: Employees should be trained on how to properly operate their vehicle during inclement weather. Employees should also be able to determine whether the following systems are working properly:
– Cooling Systems
– Electrical Systems
– Exhaust System
– Visibility Systems
Work Zone Traffic Safety: To avoid a work zone injury or fatality, workers must use the proper signs, cones, barrels, and barriers to ensure that workers are protected. It is also important that all workers wear high visibility vests so that motorists are able to see them.
Stranded in a Vehicle: If stranded, do not leave the vehicle unless you can see that help is available within 100 yards. Remain in the vehicle, call for emergency assistance, and hang a brightly colored cloth somewhere visible. To avoid frostbite or hypothermia, try to maintain blood circulation by doing minor exercises. Stay as warm as possible using extra blankets, or anything you might have that can provide warmth.
Shoveling Snow: Shoveling can cause back injuries, exhaustion, dehydration, and heart attacks. Take frequent breaks, drink plenty of water, and use proper lifting techniques.
Using Power Equipment: If power equipment, like snow blowers, are not properly grounded, workers can suffer from electrocutions. They can also cause serious lacerations or amputations if a worker tried to clear a jam without turning off or unplugging the machine.
Clearing Snow from Roofs: Rooftops can become slippery if a layer of ice forms under the snow. Workers should use alternative snow removal methods whenever possible, and use the appropriate personal protective equipment.
Preventing Slips: Snow and ice can be extremely slippery. Always wear the proper footwear with good rubber treads. Taker shorter steps and walk at a slower pace so that you can react to a change in traction.
Repairing Damaged Power Lines: This can be extremely hazardous, especially if the insulation valve on the power line is damaged, increasing the risk of electrocution. Workers should always wear protective equipment and use the appropriate tools. Energized work should be avoided if possible.
Removing Downed Trees: When tasked with clearing trees, potential hazards include electrocution from downed power lines, falling from heights, and equipment injuries. Workers must wear protective equipment, including gloves, chaps, and proper eye, head, and ear protection.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Seek Compensation for Injured WorkersIf you have been injured on the job while performing tasks related to a winter storm, you are urged to contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton at your earliest convenience. We will seek the maximum financial benefits you are entitled to and ensure that your legal rights are protected. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.