Snow removal crews might drive plows or other powered equipment when working. Snow removal is not an easy task, and it can be dangerous as well. Snow removal crews have to keep walkways and parking lots clear of snow and ice. Slip and fall accidents, strained backs, and pulled muscles are common afflictions for snow removal personnel. These workers are also prone to cold-related injuries, like frostbite and hypothermia. Even a snowplow driver has to contend with bad road conditions, potentially blinding snow, and reckless motorists.
Whether you drive a snowplow, use a snowblower, or shovel the snow, the following safety tips can help you stay safe at work.
Wear the Proper Gear
Snow removal crews need warm and hardy gear to fend off the cold winds and freezing outdoor temperatures. Insulated coveralls, insulated boots, warm mittens or gloves, and a good hat will help stave off the cold weather.
Removable cleats for boots can help prevent slip and fall accidents. Eye protection, face masks, and scarves help keep the neck and face protected against the cold and other work-related dangers. Workers should dress in layers and be advised on how to dress safely for snow removal.
Keep Equipment in Good Shape
Many different types of snow removal equipment help you get the job done. Like all heavy equipment, snow removal gear needs regular maintenance and occasional repairs to run safely as designed. Your employer should provide you with tools and equipment that are in good shape and properly maintained. That will help make snow removal go safely and smoothly.
If you use equipment that is poorly maintained, you have to work harder and so does the equipment. You also run the risk of suffering a work injury.
Train Workers to Safely Remove Snow
Snow removal can be a demanding task. Snow varies in weight and consistency, it could be fluffy and light or wet and heavy. Wet and heavy snow is much harder to remove than lighter snowfall. A shovelful of wet snow combined with a poor lifting technique might be enough to injure your back, neck, or another body part.
If the snow is too heavy or contains chunks of ice, a snowblower might be overmatched. If you have to repeatedly run a snowblower over the same area, that could wear out your back and strain muscles or cause injury.
Proper training will help ensure you know how to use the equipment that your employer provides. Training also helps you stay warm and safe while removing snow as efficiently as possible.
Take Breaks in Heated Areas
Working in the cold could take a toll on your body. Your employer should provide warm break areas to help keep your core body temperature at a normal level.
Watch for Coworkers Who Might Need Help
It is very important for snow removal crews to monitor each worker’s condition. If a coworker seems to be moving slowly, the cold weather might be taking a toll on their body.
Workers need to be trained to look out for signs of cold-related injuries or illnesses. If a coworker has slurred speech, is shaking or shivering, hypothermia could be the problem.
Employers should train their work crews to know the signs of hypothermia and other cold-related injuries and illnesses. If you see a coworker showing signs of illness or injury, you should help them get to a warm location and notify your supervisor.
What if a Worker Is Injured While Removing Snow?
A variety of injuries might occur due to snow removal work. If you are injured while removing snow, you might be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits. It is critical to understand how your employer classifies you. Independent contractors are less likely to be covered by Workers’ Compensation. Usually, salaried workers, such as snowplow drivers or operators, are covered by their employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurance.
If you are injured while removing snow, your doctor might require you to take time off of work to heal. In this situation, Worker’s Compensation would cover the medical costs and a portion of lost salary. It is important to know if you qualify for benefits. If you suffer an injury while removing snow, an experienced lawyer can help you explore your legal options, especially if your claim has been denied.
Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help Injured Outdoor Workers Get Their Entitled Benefits
If you are a part of a snowplow crew and have been injured at work, our Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can explain your entitled benefits. Contact us online or call us at (302) 427-9500 to schedule a free consultation today. We have convenient office locations in Wilmington, Bear, Milford, and Lewes Delaware. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state.