OSHA Warns of Potential Snow Cleanup Hazards

PHILADELPHIA, PA. – With record snowfalls in Pennsylvania and Western New York, along with frigid temperatures in the Northeast and Midwest, the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is urging all those involved in snow removal and cleanup to take precautions and focus on safety.

Workers performing snow removal operations may be exposed to serious hazards, including slips and falls while walking on snow and ice, falls from roofs and roof edges, through skylights, or from aerial ladders and lifts. Workers may also be injured by a roof collapse.

Other storm recovery work hazards include being struck by vehicles, carbon monoxide, hypothermia, and being injured by powered equipment.

Those working outdoors may also be at risk of cold stress, including first responders who are on duty for long periods of time. Anyone working outside for prolonged periods may experience cold stress with mild symptoms, such as shivering while remaining alert.

Moderate to severe symptoms include shivering stops, confusion, slurred speech, heart rate/breathing slowness, and loss of consciousness.  When the body is unable to warm itself, serious cold-related injuries may occur, such as frostbite.

A full list of winter storm hazards and safeguards is available at http://www.osha.gov/dts/weather/winter_weather/index.html