January 8, 2019
KANSAS CITY, MO – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reminds employers to stay vigilant when it comes to weather-related hazards that can put employees at risk when temperatures plummet in winter months.
Slippery roads and surfaces, frigid temperatures, and carbon monoxide fumes from engines, generators, and heaters are among the hazards that can lead to employee injuries and illnesses during the season. Working outdoors in excessively cold environments or without adequate protection – such as thermal clothing, gloves, and hats – can cause serious loss of surface and internal body temperature. Cold environments also increase risk factors associated with physical exertion, including dehydration, and existing health conditions.
OSHA offers winter weather resources to help protect employees from cold stress and hazards that are present when clearing heavy snow around workplaces and from rooftops, driving on icy roads, and coming across downed power lines.
Employers should perform preventative maintenance and inspect equipment before use, monitor carbon monoxide levels in workplaces, operate gas-powered equipment only in well-ventilated areas, and prevent blockages in ventilation and exhaust systems after snowfalls and when ice forms.
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 help 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 https://www.osha.gov.