Snow Safety

By Frank Kenna

Workplace safety takes many forms.  An important one to keep in mind is dealing with snow, sleet and ice, and the havoc they can cause both at home and on the job. 

Yesterday OSHA issued some excellent winter weather safety tips for the state of New York, but they apply equally well for any state that gets snow.  In fact, for those states where it infrequently snows, these tips are extra important as workers aren’t used to dealing with the cold, slippery conditions.  So those of you still digging out in N. Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and California –pay extra attention!

While you can read the entire article here, I’ll give some highlights of things to be aware of, to which workers may not usually pay attention:

· Falls from snow removal on roofs, or while working in aerial lifts or on ladders.
· Being struck or crushed by trees, branches or structures that collapse under the weight of accumulated snow.
· Carbon monoxide poisoning from gasoline-powered generators in inadequately ventilated areas or idling vehicles.
· Lacerations or amputations from unguarded or improperly operated chain saws and power tools, and improperly attempting to clear jams in snow blowers.
· Slips or falls on icy or snow-covered walking surfaces.

Make sure your workers are aware of these safety tips.  Even making a home-made safety poster of them on your laser printer, posted in a public area will help. 

Photo: A firefighter carries a woman to an ambulance following a two-vehicle wreck in the snow near Birmingham, Ala., Saturday, Dec. 25, 2010. (AP Photo/The Birmingham News, Mark Almond)

Sharon Toelle
January 3, 2011

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