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Here Are the Most Common Winter Work Hazards

A construction worker outside in the snow and cold weather

Pennsylvania workers can be exposed to many risks during the winter months.

In Pennsylvania, snow, sleet, frigid temperatures, and violent winds are common in the winter. Unfortunately, winter weather can be dangerous for workers, whether they are doing outdoor work at a construction site or tasks that require shoveling snow.

Employees injured in these conditions can seek workers' compensation for their injuries. However, the Pennsylvania workers' compensation system can be challenging to navigate on your own, particularly if you're still recovering from a work accident or illness. If you were injured on the job in Pennsylvania, you have rights. Contact us today to review your potential options for compensation.

What are dangerous winter jobs?

Specific occupations that frequently result in work-related injuries in the winter include the following:

  • Construction workers
  • Maintenance personnel
  • Snowplow drivers
  • Police officers, firefighters, and other emergency responders
  • Utility workers
  • Tow truck drivers

Driving in winter weather conditions

In the winter, snow and ice cover the roads. With less traction, traffic accidents are bound to happen, and if you drive as part of your work duties, you could be entitled to workers' comp benefits if you're injured in a work-related car accident.

While some accidents are due to the negligence of other drivers, sometimes crashes occur due to poor work vehicle maintenance. According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), the following vehicle systems can malfunction when exposed to winter conditions:

  • Brakes. Make sure to check that the brake fluid is at the right level. Faulty brakes can cause car accidents.
  • Engine. Always inspect the engine. Gasoline must be vaporized for the engine to burn it. The colder it is, the slower it evaporates, which is why many engines fail during the colder season.
  • Tires. It's important to check for air pressure and any signs of damage. The tread should also be analyzed. Tires can harden and crack in cold temperatures, allowing air to escape. This could result in a flat that could cause you to lose control of your vehicle and crash.
  • Visibility systems. Exterior lights, defrosters, and wipers are crucial for clear visibility when it snows, hails, or rains. Make sure to install winter wipers and inspect all systems.

Working from roofs and height

Roof work and working from height is dangerous no matter the season, but in the wintertime, it is especially hazardous. Some roofs have skylights, but when covered in snow, they are hidden from workers. As a result, they can fall through the skylights or slip on snow or ice. Any surface that will be walked on should be inspected, and workers should wear appropriate footwear to avoid slipping and falling.

Working with trees

Strong winter winds can knock down trees, block roads, and entangle power lines. Some tree branches grow too long or get stuck in power lines. This poses two hazards for workers. The first is height. To clear the branches from up high, workers risk falling. The second hazard comes from the equipment used to cut the branches. Chainsaws, wood chippers, and other power tools put workers at risk for serious injury. These tools are made to cut, and if a gust of wind causes a worker to lose their grip, they could suffer a deep laceration and, in extreme cases, amputation.

Talk to a workers' comp lawyer in Pennsylvania today.

At Vellner Law, PC, we have decades of experience helping people with complex workers' comp cases. If you were injured in a work accident or developed a work-related illness in Lehigh Valley or the surrounding area, it's important to understand your legal rights and options. To learn how an experienced Pennsylvania workers' comp attorney can help you, contact us today to schedule your free consultation. Our offices are in Bethlehem and Allentown.

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