Federal agencies Injury prevention Construction

OSHA offers reminders for staying safe when removing snow

snow on the roof
Photo: ivz/iStockphoto

Washington — Wintry weather has taken hold across much of the country, so OSHA is reminding employers and workers to stay mindful of safety during snow removal activities.

Highlighting several wintertime hazards, OSHA points out that falls are the leading cause of worker injuries and fatalities during rooftop snow removal. Power lines and snow removal equipment can present electrical hazards, while exposure to cold and physical exertion pose the potential for illnesses such as hypothermia, cold stress and frostbite. Workers also are at risk of possible poisoning from generator misuse and potential injury from power equipment and passing vehicles.

Employers should provide proper training, personal protective equipment and fall protection equipment for workers who are removing snow. Other tips:

  • Workers should wear footwear with proper traction and insulation. While walking, they should take shorter steps and move slowly.
  • When possible, snow should be removed without asking workers to climb onto roofs. Use snow rakes or drag lines from the ground.
  • Workers should know how to safely use ladders and aerial lifts.
  • Workers should use ladders when applying de-icing materials.

Post a comment to this article

Safety+Health welcomes comments that promote respectful dialogue. Please stay on topic. Comments that contain personal attacks, profanity or abusive language – or those aggressively promoting products or services – will be removed. We reserve the right to determine which comments violate our comment policy. (Anonymous comments are welcome; merely skip the “name” field in the comment box. An email address is required but will not be included with your comment.)