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How to Work Outdoors When It’s Cold Out

Published November 30, 2018 by The Law Offices of John Drew Warlick, P.A.
How to Work Outdoors When It’s Cold Out

Even in North Carolina, the ground can be covered in ice and snow during the winter months. This can create treacherous conditions for workers to be exposed to. It can also lead to equipment malfunctions and hazards if they are not taken care of properly. For instance, a snow blower can get clogged with snow after minimal or moderate use. Improper cleaning of the blower could result in broken bones or lacerations.

Workers should not be asked to perform a task if they have not been trained on how to do it safely. According to OSHA, workers who may not be used to winter weather may need time to acclimate themselves. They may also need extra training as it relates to driving in the snow or working on elevated surfaces when covered by ice and snow. It is an employer’s responsibility to protect workers against hazardous conditions caused by winter weather.

These hazards include wind and cold temperatures in addition to ice and snow. Protection may include giving workers gloves, hats or goggles to wear while working outside. To clear snow from roofs or platforms, it may be best to use roof rakes or drag lines instead of having a worker climb on the surface being cleared. Specialized footwear may be beneficial for those who are working on icy or slippery surfaces.

A person who is hurt at work may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. This is generally true whether the injury occurred because of a worker error or because of employer negligence. The workers’ compensation system is designed to allow accident victims to recoup lost wages and have medical bills paid. An attorney may be able to help a worker obtain benefits that he or she is entitled to.

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