Electrocution and Brain Injury Among Common Hazards of Winter Construction Work
As winter goes on, you tend to notice dropping temperatures less and less. You make sure to put on an extra layer of clothing every morning, but other than that, you aren’t too concerned about how the weather will impact another day on the construction site.
But what many workers don’t realize is that their risk of injury actually increases in the winter months, especially when snowstorms and sub-zero temperatures first begin to grip the northeast. Cold weather can wreak havoc on workers, equipment and even building materials themselves, making construction progress understandably slower in the winter, but also more dangerous for workers.
How Construction Workers May Suffer Electrocution and Other Cold-Weather Injuries
- Snow. The weight of several days’ snowfall can place an enormous amount of stress on tree branches, causing them to snap and break electrical lines. These accidents are especially dangerous since the presence of snow and ice exposes workers to potentially wet clothing, making electrocution even more likely.
- Safety oversights. Some fire extinguishers that have been exposed to freezing temperatures may not work when a fire breaks out, leaving the worker to suffer an aggravated injury.
- Falls from heights. Workers are more likely to slip on icy or wet surfaces (such as raised platforms or unsalted walkways), increasing the risk of traumatic brain injury, paralysis or even death.
- Crushing injuries. The freezing, melting and refreezing process can weaken many different materials on a construction site. From shifting beams to large icicles and loads being blown off crane platforms, construction workers are at constant peril of walking underneath a heavy object.
Is There Any Way to Take Prevent Workers from Suffering Unnecessary Injuries?
Even if your workplace is an inherently dangerous place, all employers have a duty to make their workplaces as safe as possible. For construction workers, this means reducing causes of winter worksite injury by ensuring that all machinery is working properly and workers are well trained. In addition, workers should be provided proper safety equipment, such as hard hats, gloves and tethers to protect them from unnecessary injury.
Could your employer have done more to prevent your accident? Click the contact link on this page to ask us a question about your case or read through a copy of our FREE book, What the Injured Worker Needs to Know: Your Workers’ Comp Guide.
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