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Safety tips for snow removal

Ohio workers who have to routinely work outside may find it necessary to remove snow during the winter months. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has provided helpful advice regarding how to avoid hazards that may arise during snow removal.

Individuals who have to remove snow from elevated surfaces, like rooftops, often face especially dangerous scenarios. Over the past 10 years, OSHA has investigated 16 preventable cases of severe injuries or fatalities that resulted from such situations.

OSHA advises using drag lines or snow rakes, if possible, to remove snow from rooftops to prevent falls. Small amounts of snow should be removed at a time to prevent strains and avoid burying others by falling snow. People who remove rooftop snow or ice should also be sure to wear proper head and eye protective gear.

Before anyone goes onto a roof, the snow load should be assessed as well as any additional weight of equipment and workers. Properly removing the snow entails not making snow piles that can result in unbalanced loads on the roof.

Additional snow-removal hazards include amputations or eye injuries caused by equipment used for snow removal, being hit by a vehicle and being entrapped or suffocated by falling snow. There's also the risk of being electrocuted by damaged extension cords or contact with power lines, hypothermia or frostbite due to frigid weather conditions and sustaining musculoskeletal injuries due to overexertion.

Employees who sustain injuries associated with working outside during extreme weather conditions may be entitled to workers' compensation. An attorney who practices personal injury law may help an injured worker apply for benefits or appeal denied claims.

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