snow on the roof
Photo: ivz/iStockphoto

OSHA offers reminders for staying safe when removing snow

January 17, 2018

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.