Construction work slows in Massachusetts, but does not come to a stop. In major cities like Boston, many construction workers are on-the-job year round. Considering that construction is already one of the most dangerous occupations, adding the hazards of winter weather can dramatically increase the risks. In Massachusetts, snow, ice, extreme cold can lead to disaster if workers and employers don’t follow safety protocol. Taking proper precautions can significantly reduce the risk of serious injury and death. Contact a Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today.
Winter Building and Construction Safety Tips
The Occupational Health and Safety website offers the following “winterizing” safety tips for all types of building and construction jobs.
Avoid fire hazards: Wooden ladders should be replaced with non-combustible ladders. Make sure to store materials away from open flames at all times. Temporary heating devices should comply with local fire codes.
Protect pipes: For starters, do not attempt to thaw frozen pipes with an open flame. Not only can this cause fires, it can also result in a steam explosion. To thaw frozen pipes, use a heat lamp, space heater, or heat gun only. Ensure that any worker using these devices is properly trained to do so.
Protect water tanks: Roof water tanks should be regularly checked to ensure that they do not freeze.
Remove debris: Debris always poses a risk in work environments, but this is especially true for winter construction. Ice and snow on rooftops and overhangs should be cleared regularly to prevent falling to street level. Heavy snow can also hide dangerous materials that could fall to a lower level or cause a worker to trip.
Make sure that equipment and temporary structures are stable and secure: All construction materials, including ladders, netting, and accessories, can shift in inclement weather. Small items can be stored in a toolbox or other container. Large equipment and temporary structures, such as scaffolding, fencing, and sidewalk sheds, should be secured as well.
Avoid working in icy conditions: Regardless of how important or time-sensitive the job is, working on scaffolding in snow and ice is never a good idea. Unless you are trying to remedy a hazardous situation, stay off scaffolding in snow and ice. The same is true during storms and high winds.
Avoid using hoists in inclement weather: During heavy rain, ice, snow, and high winds, do not use hoists. In addition, if a hoist has been exposed to winds of 35 mph or more, it should be inspected before future use.
Inspect cranes for use in inclement weather: To keep cranes functioning safely, they must be properly stored, maintained, and inspected on a regular basis. Check for water and ice accumulation on the crane, which can result in a slip and fall or a falling ice hazard.
Altman & Altman, LLP – Construction Accident Law Firm Serving all of Massachusetts
If you have been injured in any type of work related accident, the workers’ compensation team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help you recover your losses. Construction jobs are inherently dangerous, but you can reduce your risk of serious injury by following safety guidelines year round. Employers are also responsible for providing a safe working environment, which includes adequate training and well-maintained, regularly inspected equipment. Whether your injuries are a result of third party negligence, or you were at fault, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses and lost wages. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free consultation about your case.