Work in winter storms with caution

Posted on 20th Jan, 2012 | By Lorretta Tatham

It is dangerous to work outside during stormy weather – especially when ladders are involved.

Winter storms expose workers to various hazards both during and after the event.

Hazards associated with winter storms, especially when working at height, can include dangers from falling objects, such as icicles, tree limbs and utility poles, driving accidents on slippery roadways and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Other winter storm related workers injuries include:

– Hypothermia or frostbite

– Back injuries while lifting or removing snow

– Slips and falls due to slippery walkways or ladders

– Electrocution from power lines and objects such as aluminium extension ladders that are in contact with power lines

– Burns from fires caused by energised lines and equipment failure

– Falls during snow removal on roofs, working platforms or ladders

– Roof collapsing under weight of snow

– Accidents due to improperly operated winter power tools

To avoid these disasters, it is important to ensure workers do the following:

– Stay well clear from downed or damaged power lines and use non-aluminium ladders when working near electricity.

– Before cleaning and performing maintenance, check your power tools before connecting them to power sources.

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

– Avoid injuries by scooping out small amounts of ice and snow at a time.

– Clear walking surfaces and ladders of snow and ice and use salt or its equivalent where appropriate.

– Use fall protection when working at height and with ladders.

– Whether working at height or on the ground, wear reflective clothing and protection for your eyes and face.

– Establish and clearly mark work zones, especially where ladders are involved.

– Carry out safe work practices to reduce the length and severity of exposure to the cold.

For more information on ladder safety, roof ladders, aluminium ladders or working at height, visit the product pages.

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