Seyfarth Synopsis: On its website, OSHA is highlighting the hazards of working in winter weather and providing resources for employers to help protect their workers.
Employers must remember that weather-based hazards exist not only in the heat and humidity of summer, but also in the dead of winter. OSHA has reminded employers of their duties to plan, equip, and train their workers for jobs impacted by winter weather in an effort to “[p]revent injuries, illnesses, and fatalities during winter storms.” The U.S. has already experienced significant winter weather events during 2022-2023, with much of the country having been impacted by heavy snowfalls, icy conditions, arctic cold, and/or brutal winds. Indeed, it seems instances of extreme weather continue to increase with each passing season. But – particularly with the 2022 holiday season in the review mirror – workers continue to perform their jobs in difficult conditions.
To that end, OSHA provides information on hazards – beyond cold stress – associated with operating in winter, including:
- Winter Driving
- Work Zone Traffic Safety
- Stranded in a Vehicle
- Shoveling Snow
- Using Powered Equipment like Snow Blowers
- Clearing Snow from Roofs and Working at Heights
- Preventing Slips on Snow and Ice
- Repairing Downed or Damaged Power Lines
- Working Near Downed or Damaged Power Lines
- Removing Downed Trees
Employers should also consider appropriate winter clothing and personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect employees from cold weather hazards and ensure only appropriate equipment is used in wintry environments.
For more information on this or any related topic please contact the authors, your Seyfarth attorney, or any member of the Workplace Safety and Health (OSHA/MSHA) Team.