New Snow and Ice Removal Guidelines from OSHA

Source: dipressionist - 123RF

Sub-zero weather is set to grip most of the mid-west, with the coldest air coming between Tuesday and Thursday in the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes, according to CNN, and temperatures plunging to 20-40 degrees below zero. Wind chills will plummet to 35-60 below zero.

OSHA has released a new resource guide for employers and workers involved in snow and ice removal activities, highlighting how you can be safeguarded against these hazards.

Snow removal operations can result in serious injuries or fatalities, particularly while removing ice or snow from rooftops and other building structures such as decks.

Other hazards include:

  • Frostbite and hypothermia;
  • Back injuries from slips, trips, falls or overexertion;
  • Falling ice;
  • Shock or electrocution from power lines or extension cords; and
  • Aerial lift collapses or tip-overs.

OSHA advises employers to plan ahead, look for hazards, and train workers on identifying fall and electrical hazards.

Training also should include proper use of ladders, aerial lifts and protective equipment based on manufacturers’ guidelines.

The resource suggests employers limit worker access to roofs or other structures during snow removal, and reminds workers that snow can hide hazards, including:

  • Power lines;
  • Chemical or heating, ventilation, and air conditioning lines; or
  • Other equipment on roofs that could rupture if struck.

Meantime, the Union Recorder reports that Baldwin County EMA, in partnership with the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency, are encouraging all residents to participate in Severe Weather Preparedness Week, Feb. 4-8, to prepare for the possibility of a disaster.

Severe Weather Preparedness Week begins with Family Preparedness Day on Feb. 4, when Milledgeville Baldwin County households are encouraged to program their NOAA Weather Radios.

The rest of the week dedicates time to practicing response to specific emergency events and going through the procedures of learning how to deal with each potential disaster.

Wayne Johnson, EMA director, Milledgeville Baldwin County Emergency Management Agency, says, “You can ensure that you and your family stay safe if necessary steps are taken ahead of time, and you can implement safety measures at home and at work so they will be ready when severe weather strikes.”