Construction workers in Pennsylvania face unique dangers on the job during the winter months. Freezing temperatures and slippery surfaces from ice and snow compel workers and employers to take extra safety precautions during winter, according to experts. Preparation for the oncoming cold can begin before winter.
Roadways and parking areas that have potholes or uneven surfaces cannot be fixed when the ground is frozen. Pre-season maintenance of road surfaces can prevent the problem icy surfaces in winter from being compounded by potholes and other surface problems. Site inspections prior to winter should also include considerations for issues that are unique to cold weather, such as tools or equipment that may not work correctly in freezing temperatures.
Slips and falls are a typical construction site problem all year, and can be worse in winter. Safety experts advise employers to be prepared for ice and snow removal operations during winter and for posting warning signs or barriers to keep workers from particularly dangerous areas.
Special safety equipment and personal protection equipment for workers can help with problems that arise during cold weather. Clothing to protect from the cold, waterproof boots and anti-fogging protective eyewear are some of the items that might be needed in winter.
Whether or not a worker was using proper safety protection does not factor into a workers' compensation case. Workers' compensation is a no-fault insurance, meaning that an injury is covered even if it was the workers' fault or the employer's fault. By filing a workers' compensation claim, a worker waives his or her right to file a lawsuit against the employer. Workers' compensation could provide compensation for medical costs associated with an on-the-job injury, and partial compensation for lost wages.