As New Jersey residents are aware, extreme temperatures rarely affect their work schedule. Regardless of whether the temperature is sub zero or topping 100 degrees, work must continue and a living must be made. In fact, there are some occupations there find themselves swamped during the winter season, such as snow shoveling, clearing snow from roofs and snow blowing. Even those who are not in these professions, such as construction workers and industrial workers, continue to work in severe weather and should be properly trained and equipped as to how to keep themselves safe.
Slips, trips and falls happen throughout the year, but the snow and ice accumulation during winter makes workplace injuries even more likely. For example, those clearing snow from roofs need to be aware that the surface they are relying on is slippery. Additionally, any surface weighed down by snow needs to be inspected to ensure that it is safe enough to stand on or access. One way employers can ensure these workers are protected is by using snow removal methods that do not involve workers going on the roof. Additionally, proper equipment should be provided, as well as equipment, such as non-slip safety boots and personal fall arrest systems.
Those shoveling snow are at risk for not only falling and slipping but also injuring their backs and exhaustion. The cold stress can creep on a worker and they might not even realize they are at risk for hypothermia or frostbite. Scooping small amounts of snow at a time, taking frequent breaks and using good form can prevent workplace injuries.
Repairing damaged power lines is also common in extreme weathers and can prove to be very dangerous. Moisture affects the insulation value of protective equipment and electrocution can result. If it is not possible to avoid synergized work, employers should first conduct safety assessments to ensure their workers are not unduly risked.
When an employer does not create a safe working environment for their employees, workplace injuries can result. Injured workers may be able to file workers’ compensation claims against their employers and get compensation to cover their injuries and lost wages.