SAFETY TIP TUESDAY- NCESD
Provided by the North Central ESD Workers Compensation Trust
OVERHEAD WINTER HAZARDS
According to OSHA, each year workers are killed or seriously injured while removing snow or ice from rooftops and other elevated surfaces such as canopies, decks, etc. Pedestrians can also be injured or killed when structures with flat or shallowed sloped roofs collapse or if struck by heavy icicles and compact snow falling from the edges of roofs or out of trees.
TIPS TO PREVENT INJURIES DUE TO OVERHEAD WINTER HAZARDS
When walking outdoors, look out for and stay clear of overhead hazards.
Consider barricading areas below potential overhead hazards until they can be safely removed.
Monitor snow loads on roofs and other structures; consult with a structural engineer if needed.
- Plan ahead…
Mark any hazards on roofs that could be covered or hidden by snow before the snow starts to accumulate, i.e., skylights, roof drains, vents, etc.
Train workers to use equipment involved in snow/ice removal operations, i.e., ladders, aerial lifts, snow blowers, etc.
- Mark a safe zone around area(s) where snow or ice will be removed to keep people back at least 10 feet from the point where snow/ice is expected to fall.
Use snow removal methods that do NOT require workers to go out onto roofs whenever possible, i.e., using snow rakes or drag lines to remove snow from ground level.
Using a broom, carefully knock down icicles hanging over walkways or doorways.
Wear eye and head protection, especially when removing ice from overhead.
Avoid using metal tools – they can damage the roof & conduct electricity if they contact a power line.
If workers have to walk on snow covered roofs or other structures:
Evaluate the total load exerted on the roof/structure before starting, including the weight of the snow, worker(s) and equipment.
Make sure employees use fall protection equipment in any areas not adequately guarded by a guardrail system or cover, i.e., full-body harness and a lanyard attached to a secure anchorage point.
Make sure employees follow safe ladder practices, i.e., proper positioning of the ladder, checking rungs for ice, clearing snow from boots before stepping onto the ladder, maintaining 3 points of contact with the ladder at all times (2 feet & 1 hand or 1 foot & 2 hands), not carrying tools or equipment in their hands while climbing up or down, not attempting to rake or shovel snow while standing on a ladder, not leaning or reaching beyond either side rail, etc.