Winter is coming. That means the hazards of outdoor work in cold conditions and weather-related work dangers are coming with it. To create awareness for common hazards and how to plan for them, OSHA released a tipsheet on its Winter Weather resource site. OSHA lists 10 common winter hazards and provides tips on how employers can prepare for them, through employee training and heightened awareness. Rooftop snow removal, working at heights, preventing slips on snow and ice, and working near damaged power lines are among the 10 hazards OSHA covers on its tipsheet. Here are OSHA's tips for how to prepare and handle these winter hazards.

Clearing Snow From Roofs and Working at Heights
Employers must evaluate snow removal tasks for hazards and plan how to do the work safely. Workers should be aware of the potential for unexpected hazards due to weather conditions. A surface that is weighed down by snow must be inspected by a competent person to determine if it is structurally safe for workers to access it, because it may be at risk of collapsing.

Employers can protect workers from these hazardous work conditions, for example, by using snow removal methods that do not involve workers going on roofs, when and where possible.

Preventing Slips on Snow and Ice
To prevent slips, trips, and falls, employers should clear all walking surfaces of snow and ice, and spread deicer, as quickly as possible after a winter storm. In addition, the following precautions will help reduce the likelihood of injuries:

  • Wear proper footwear when walking on snow or ice is unavoidable. A pair of insulated and water resistant boots with good rubber treads is a must for walking during or after a winter storm.
  • Take short steps and walk at a slower pace so you can react quickly to a change in traction, when walking on an icy or snow-covered walkway.
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