Every year people die of heart attacks while shoveling heavy snow, lose fingers in snowblower accidents, and fall from icy roofs. Don’t let this happen to your employees. Train them in safe snow removal.
For people who smoke or are out of shape, shoveling snow can be especially hazardous. But even nonsmokers in good shape can risk injury when snow is very deep or very wet and heavy.
Remind employees to take these steps to protect their backs while shoveling snow
- Bend your knees to fill your shovel and then lift with your legs, not your back.
- Don’t twist your body when you toss the snow from the shovel.
- If the snow is heavy, take only a little with each shovel load.
- Take frequent breaks and stretch your back gently from time to time.
- Don’t overexert yourself. Get help if the snow is extremely heavy or deep.
Employees who use snowblowers instead of shoveling also need to take precautions. For example:
- Inspect the path you intend to clear and move foreign objects out of the way. Never remove or disable safety features such as guards, shields, or deflectors. Keep children and pets away from the area.
When the mercury plunges it’s critical that you review your existing practices for dealing with the cold stress to assure your employees’ safety. BLR’s upcoming live webinar will help you develop successful cold weather control and mitigation strategies crucial to your workers’ well being. Click here for details.
- Keep face, hands, feet, and clothing away from concealed, moving, or rotating parts.
- Never clear the discharge chute with the engine running.
- Shut the engine off and remove the key if the snowblower will be unattended.
- Do not fill the fuel tank while the engine is hot or running.
When attempting to remove excess snow and ice from a roof, employees should take these precautions:
- Never step onto a sloped roof or an icy flat roof unless you are equipped with appropriate fall protection equipment, which includes a harness and lanyard.
- When using a ladder to reach the roof, make sure the ladder is secure and have another person stabilize the ladder at its base while you climb.
- To climb onto a roof from a ladder, make sure the ladder extends about 3 feet over the supporting edge.
- Don’t spread ice-melting chemicals on a roof; this can damage the roof and the drainage system.
- If you have concerns about the load strength of the roof under extreme snow or ice conditions, consult a qualified engineer immediately.
Make sure your employees are safe working outdoors this winter. Join us on January 23 for an in-depth webinar when our presenter will explain the process for developing and implementing a cold environment prevention program, with a focus on outside workers. Learn More.
Keep Your Workers Safe in Cold Weather
When the mercury plunges it’s critical to review your existing practices for dealing with the cold stress to assure your employees’ safety.
Understanding the signs and symptoms of exposure as well as monitoring techniques, work-rest regimens, and proper selection of personal protective clothing and equipment helps workers avoid the risk of cold stress and serious cold-related health problems including frostbite, hypothermia, and trench foot.
Join us for an in-depth webinar on January 23 about the successful cold weather control and mitigation strategies that are crucial to your workers’ well being. Our presenter, a seasoned EHS expert who has helped companies successfully address cold work environments in Alaska and Arctic Circle and working onboard marine vessels in the North Sea, will explain the process for developing and implementing a cold environment prevention program, with a focus on outside workers.
You and your colleagues will learn:
- Typical cold stress hazard illnesses and injuries, including frost bite, hypothermia, trench foot, and cold water immersion
- Signs and symptoms of exposure, and the appropriate first aid measures for typical cold stress hazard illnesses and injuries
- OSHA requirements, measurement, and guidance on cold stress as well as consensus standard guidelines from ACGIH and ANSI
- How to best analyze specific work environments to identify and assess potential cold stress factors that need to be addressed
- Proven methods for mitigating and eliminating potential cold stress factors
- How to establish an effective training program for workers that include topics such as cold-induced injuries and illnesses, symptoms, and mitigation methods
- Ways to identify and evaluate resources to help participants develop and implement their cold environment prevention programs
About Your Presenter
Mr. Bernard Fontaine has more than 37 years professional and business experience in regulatory compliance, insurance, national defense, environment, and consulting. He specializes in cross-functional and cross-regional teams and he has developed and supported complex, multi-year consulting engagements.
His leadership skills has driven cost-effective solutions for public and private sectors in areas of industrial hygiene, risk management, loss control and worker compensation claim, safety system management, occupational and public health, process and product safety throughout the supply chain, ergonomics, indoor air quality, emergency response and training for workers and their supervisors.
He has worked on a variety of industrial and environmental projects involving all types of cold stress issues and the need for emergency preparedness and readiness; medical monitoring and surveillance; section of engineering and/or administrative controls and personal protective equipment and clothing for the work task; training and education of the workforce, and monitoring weather condition and environmental risk factors.
Mr. Fontaine obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Laboratory Science from Northeastern University and completed his clinical internship at Brigham Hospital for Women in Boston in 1979. He received his Master of Science degree in Industrial Hygiene from the University of Oklahoma in 1984. Additional post-graduate work was completed in Business Administration at Portsmouth College in 1985.
Mr. Fontaine is completing his dissertation in leveraging occupational and environmental health and safety toward sustainable excellence, social responsibility, and risk governance from Suffield University. Mr. Fontaine is currently Managing Partner of The Windsor Consulting Group, Inc., a Certified Industrial Hygienist, and a Certified Safety Professional.
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