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How to keep workers safe in cold weather

There is no specific OSHA standard that protects Pennsylvania workers against winter weather hazards. However, employers are required to provide employees with protection against hazards that they may face. For instance, they must be trained in how to handle driving on slick roads or working on slick surfaces. They should also learn how to recognize cold stress and the problems that it could cause. Ideally, workers will have clothing designed for cold, windy or wet weather.

Employers should provide tools to keep workers safe while working in cold or windy weather. For instance, lifts could be used to clear roofs or other elevated areas free from snow or ice. It may also be a good idea to keep heaters in proximity to outdoor workspaces to help workers stay warm. Finally, shielding job sites from wind or drafts can keep workers from getting too cold.

Ideally, outdoor work will be scheduled during the sunniest time of the day. Furthermore, it can be better from a worker safety standpoint to postpone jobs until the weather is warmer if possible. Those who have not spent a lot of time working in cold weather conditions should be given frequent breaks until they are fully acclimated to the climate. For especially long and urgent jobs, workers should be scheduled in shifts for their safety.

Employees who are injured while working may be entitled to collect compensation for medical expenses and lost wages. Benefits could help a worker provide for themselves or any dependents that they have. Depending on the severity of the injury, an employee may be entitled to benefits on a permanent basis. Those who have questions about their claims or the workers' compensation system in general may wish to consult with an attorney.

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