OSHA is urging employers and workers who remove snow from rooftops and other building structures to be aware of the hazards and safeguards associated with this work. Several recent incidents of workers falling through skylights, one resulting in a fatality, emphasize the need for employers to evaluate the hazards of snow removal tasks and plan how to do the work safely.
A surface that is weighed down by snow may be at risk of collapsing, so it must be inspected by a competent person to determine if it is structurally safe for workers to access it. Snow-covered rooftops can hide hazards such as skylights that workers can fall through. Electrical hazards may also exist from overhead power lines or snow removal equipment.
Employers can protect workers from these hazardous work conditions by using snow removal methods that do not involve workers going on roofs, when and where possible. Employers should determine the right type of equipment to use, such as ladders or aerial lifts, and personal protective equipment including personal fall arrest systems and non-slip safety boots, as well as ensure that workers are trained on how to properly use them.
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