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Winter Dangers for Outdoor Workers

Steve Wagner

While the worries of dehydration and overheating are lessened during the winter months, the dangers that workers face during the cold seasons are potentially more life-threatening, and the hazards are definitely more plentiful.

If we focus in on construction workers and other outdoor safety workers, they face extreme hazards in the elements every single day. Do you feel that your employer has taken the necessary precautions to train and protect the workers under their employ? If not, take a minute to look over these winter safety tips for outdoor workers and let us know where your employer could stand to improve their efforts:

  • Vehicle operators should be properly licensed: Are all forklift, crane, and large construction equipment operators properly trained and licensed?
  • Equipment should undergo regular inspections and maintenance: Has it been a while since the machinery you are working with has been maintained or checked?
    Work zones should be adequately lit and have appropriate warning signs: Are you working in a zone on a roadway that is dimly lit or hard to see because of a lack of signage?
  • Workers should have appropriate attire as well as break times and opportunities to get warm: Do you have the proper safety gear, as well as warm-weather clothing? Are you allowed to take your legally mandated breaks in a location where you can escape the weather and elements?
  • Workers operating from heights must have safety restraints: Are you working on rooftops or scaffolding? If so, do you have the proper safety restraints, as well as the ability to move around safely without encountering snow and ice?
  • Electrical workers need proper safety equipment to avoid electrocution: Do you have insulated protection from electrical wires? Are you working with de-energized wires, or with live wires?
  • Drivers should never be forced to push a vehicle through unstable conditions: Unless you are operating a snow plow and clearing the roadways for everyone else, are you being asked to operate construction equipment on unstable ground and dangerous elements?

If your employer is asking you to operate in conditions which feel unsafe, or if they are asking you to perform tasks without the proper safety gear and equipment, they are putting you at extreme risk for injury. Take a look at OSHA’s requirements and recommendations for winter work zones. Don’t put yourself in danger and risk a serious and preventable injury. Call the law office of Wagner Reese today if you have questions about the legality of what your employer may be asking you to do. You can reach us at (888) 204-8440 for a free workers’ compensation consultation.

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