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OSHA provides safety tips for snow removal

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is more than familiar with the dangers that workers face when removing snow. The federal organization has investigated cases of people being suffocated in snow, falling from snow-covered roofs and having body parts amputated through contact with snow blowers. This is why outdoor workers in Connecticut should know about the tips that OSHA offers for safe snow removal.

Workers must first be sure to not overexert themselves, especially with wet and heavy snow. Smaller shovels are recommended; workers should lift with their legs and never bend their backs. Employers should also ensure that their employees get frequent breaks and drink lots of fluids (but not alcohol or anything with caffeine). This can help prevent conditions like hypothermia and frostbite.

Climbing up rooftops is discouraged if draglines or snow rakes are available. When it's unavoidable, workers should foresee any issues that may be caused by adding extra weight to a roof. Snow should be removed uniformly, with no piles that could exert unequal pressure on the roof. Workers should also protect their eyes and head with the appropriate gear and avoid any power lines (staying at least 10 feet away) and damaged extension cords.

Even when employers properly train their teams, accidents can happen. In such cases, victims can file for workers' compensation benefits to recover lost wages and pay for medical expenses. When the employer neglects to train employees or provide safety equipment, a victim could decide to sue for damages. Either way, it's important to retain a lawyer who can properly build up a case.

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