November 29, 2014

OSHA website offers winter safety tips

OSHA logo; OSHAWASHINGTON –The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has created a webpage to provide worker and employer guidance during winter weather:

http://s.dol.gov/L1

The web page includes links to guidance from OSHA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the American Red Cross, the National Weather Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Safety Council.

On the webpage, OSHA will transmit information relating to worker safety that includes tips on avoiding:

* Being struck by falling objects such as icicles, tree limbs, and utility poles

* Accidents due to slippery roadways

* Carbon monoxide poisoning

* Dehydration, hypothermia and frostbite

* Exhaustion from strenuous activity

* Back injuries or heart attack while removing snow

* Slips and falls due to slippery walkways

* Electrocution from downed power lines and downed objects in contact with power lines

* Burns from fires caused by energized line contact or equipment failure

* Falls from snow removal on roofs or while working in aerial lifts or on ladders

* Roof collapse under weight of snow (or melting snow if drains are clogged)

* Lacerations or amputations from unguarded or improperly operated chain saws and power tools, and improperly attempting to clear jams in snow blowers

OSHA also offers the following winter-weather tips for workers and employers:

* Assume all power lines are energized and stay well clear of any downed or damaged power lines

* Make certain all powered equipment is properly guarded and disconnected from power sources before cleaning or performing maintenance

* Use caution around surfaces weighed down by large amounts snow or of ice

* Scoop small amounts of snow and using proper lifting form to avoid over-exertion or injuries

* Clear walking surfaces of snow and ice and use salt or its equivalent where appropriate 

* Employers should provide and ensure the use of fall protection and provide and maintain ladders 

* Stay in the vehicle – do not leave the vehicle unless help is visible within 100 yards

* Wear reflective clothing, and eye, face and body protection

* Establish and clearly marking work zones

* Use engineering controls, personal protective equipment and safe work practices to reduce the length and severity of exposure to the cold