After a worker fell off a roof where he was removing snow and died, OSHA has been urging employers to exercise more caution to prevent injuries and fatalities involving the snow removal process. The worker was at a construction site when he slid off the roof and hit his head on materials below being used in construction. He was not the only worker in recent weeks to lose his life while getting rid of snow.
Another worker on a different construction site also fell through an open shaft for an elevator while attempting to clear snow and one was impaled by a scaffold when he fell from a residential roof shoveling snow on a construction project. In all these cases and many more, death could have been prevented if the proper precautions were taken.
OSHA warns employers about the risks of working during inclement weather conditions. Workers charged with snow removal often are doing so when while weather is still bad. The risk of falls and serious or fatal injuries is high without proper training. Construction workers are at particular risk due to their potential to fall from great heights. Many workers have been killed falling through roofs, off ladders, or when roofs collapse due to the weight of the snow.
Many accidents would have not proven fatal if workers were properly forewarned of the dangers associated with snow removal and had access to safety equipment including harnesses and adequate protective rails. Even workers on the ground should be aware of the potential of snow hazards including slip and falls or the risks of being buried under falling snow from roofs and other structures.