OSHA reminds workers, employers that fall protection can prevent tragedy when removing snow on rooftops, elevated surfaces — Agency stresses safety awareness amid Southwestern Idaho’s record snowfall, frigid weather

January 13, 2017

BOISE, Idaho – As residents cope with record snowfall and frigid temperatures, the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration urges workers and employers in southwestern Idaho to be extra vigilant and aware of the dangerous hazards that exist when removing snow and ice, particularly from rooftops and other elevated surfaces.

“OSHA reminds workers, employers and the public in general to take precautions and to be aware that snow removal can be hazardous. Safety must be a number one priority,” said David Kearns, OSHA’s area director in Boise. “As people work to remove snow from roofs and other elevated surfaces, proper fall protection is essential. With these safeguards, falls are wholly preventable. Despite these warnings, falls remain the leading cause of serious injuries and deaths during snow removal.”

OSHA urges all those involved in snow removal operations to download, make copies and distribute a brief OSHA guide that explains the particulars of snow removal operations and how to perform the job safely. The guide includes detailed tips and information on topics such as:

Preventing falls during snow removal.
Removing snow without going on a roof.
Evaluating load bearing on a roof or structure.
Using the required fall protection.
Using ladders safely.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742). Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.