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Workers Face Additional Construction Site Hazards in Winter

Snow during construction. A yellow excavator on the job site in the winter.

On any construction site, there are many hazards that are a risk to a workers’ health and safety. A construction accident can leave workers seriously injured. Employers such as construction companies and contractors have a responsibility to ensure that all safety protocols and procedures are followed to help protect workers.

Working in the winter brings a new set of hazards to New York construction sites.

Cold-related Illness and Injuries

Extremely cold temperatures are a threat to the health and safety of workers who do their jobs outdoors. Workers can experience frostbite or hypothermia. There is the risk of chilblains – the inflammation of small blood vessels. Working repeatedly in wet and cold conditions could result in trench foot, in which blood vessels in the feet become constricted and skin tissue dies.

Employers need to be aware of the risk of cold weather and take steps to protect workers. This could involve changing schedules and providing workers with protective gear.

Slips, Trips, and Falls

Ice and snow can make outdoor surfaces extremely slippery. Workers can track in snow and ice on their boots, which melts into water on the floor indoors. The result in both of these cases is a higher risk of slip and falls. Workers who lose their footing can suffer broken bones and fractures, bruises, back injuries, spinal cord damage, concussions, head injuries, and traumatic brain injuries.

Employers need to take steps to address slip and fall hazards at worksites in the winter. This includes clearing ice and snow from outdoor surfaces where workers are doing their jobs. It also involves cleaning up water from indoor floors. Employers should also make sure workers have the proper equipment, such as non-slip boots.

Winter Weather Driving Accidents

There are more than a million weather-related crashes each year, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Among these accidents, about 18 percent are related to snow or sleet, 13 percent to icy pavement, and 16 percent to snowy or slushy pavement. Winter weather increases the risk of a construction vehicle accident.

Employers have a responsibility to ensure drivers are trained to handle wintry conditions. Construction vehicles also need to be inspected regularly and needed repairs must be made promptly. Traffic controls such as barrels, barriers, signs, and cones should be used to alert drivers and protect workers at road construction sites.

But employers don’t always meet their responsibilities. Workers exposed to winter weather can get hurt and need to miss time from the job. Medical expenses add up, but there is less income coming in. Workers experience financial stress and aren’t sure how they will be able to pay the bills.

Experienced Legal Representation Can Make a Difference

The highly skilled construction accident attorneys at Keogh Crispi, P.C. fight for the rights of injured construction workers. We understand the challenges involved in these cases and know how to gather evidence and build a strong case for compensation. We’re not intimidated by insurance companies and don’t back down until we get the results our clients deserve.

If you were injured on a construction site because of a winter weather hazard, it’s important to get legal advice as soon as possible. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.

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