As most Massachusetts’ residents prepare to bunker down in their homes during the winter, many others take to the streets to make it safer for others to travel to and from work. But, as one can imagine, snow and ice make for unsafe working conditions and certain precautions must be taken to ensure that workers exposed to extreme conditions do not get injured or contract an illness.
Winter driving is especially dangerous and, though it is a tricky area for employers to provide safe working conditions, they are not exempt from their responsibility. They must ensure drivers have received training for driving in winter conditions and are also properly licensed for the vehicle they drive. Maintenance is also an important angle for employers to look into, ensuring vehicle systems such as the brakes and tires to ensure everything is functioning properly.
Similarly, other drivers on the road are susceptible to skidding or losing control of their vehicles due to the ice and this can cause risks for workers on the road. Therefore, employers must set up work zones clearly identified by signs and barriers in order to protect workers. Workers should also wear appropriate gear, such as visibility vests so that they can remain visible to workers.
Clearing snow from a roof is also very dangerous, as layers of ice from that make surfaces very slippery. Additionally, accumulated snow on a roof may be so heavy that it may not be structurally safe to get on the roof to clear it. In these instances, workers can be protected when employers utilize snow removing methods that do not involve a worker going on the roof and where workers must go, personal protection equipment must be provided by the employer.
Work does not stop in the winter, but employees and employers do need to be more cautious to avoid workplace illnesses and injuries. When an employer does not fulfill their responsibility and a workplace injury results, it might be possible to get workers compensation.