After heavy snowfall in Colorado, workers who are involved in snow removal may not recognize the hazardous nature of the job. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, worker fatalities and serious injuries during these operations mostly follow falls through skylights, off roof edges, from aerial lifts and ladders. Sometimes, such falls cause permanent disability.
In many cases, workers climb onto roofs or other structures to remove snow to prevent collapses or do repairs caused by heavy loads of snow. The equipment they typically use includes snow blowers, shovels and rakes, and for access to these elevated areas they use ladders or lift trucks. These can all be hazardous under the circumstances.
During many of these activities, workers are exposed to extreme cold and high winds, and they often need to navigate icy surfaces. Frequently, this task falls on an untrained employee, such as a building maintenance worker with very little knowledge or experience related to the risks of snow removal. Employers are responsible for the safety of their workers and must provide the necessary safety training, but few comply with OSHA regulations when it comes to snow removal.
Injured workers in Colorado may file workers’ compensation benefits claims for financial assistance to cover medical expenses and lost wages. However, if the workplace accident caused permanent disability due to a catastrophic injury, such as damage to the spinal cord or brain, the victim may be entitled to additional benefits. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney’s assistance with the navigation of the claims process may help to secure the maximum level of compensation.
Source: osha.gov, “Falls and Other Hazards to Workers Removing Snow from Rooftops and Other Elevated Surfaces”, Accessed on Dec. 28, 2017