For those who work in the snow removal industry, harsh winter storms provide tons of business and an influx of both work and income. However, these storms also bring about hazards, as removing snow from roofs can be incredibly dangerous and can lead to workplace accidents.
According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, workers are serious injured or killed in this line of work every single year. Additionally, OSHA believes that most of the accidents can be prevented. Over a ten year period, they investigated a total of 16 such incidents, and each one was preventable.
Often, the accidents happen because workers do not have proper safety gear, such as ropes and harnesses to help in the event of a fall. For example, one worker without a rope was shoveling snow from a deck on the second story of a building. There was an opening for an elevator, and it had been blocked off with a tarp. There were guardrails around part of the opening, but not the entire thing, and the worker fell through it and dropped 30 feet down the shaft. The worker passed away as a result.
Another worker was killed while using a ladder, which is typically thought of as a safer way to clear snow than standing on the roof. However, the 12-foot ladder slid on the slippery ground, and the worker fell. He hit his head twice, first on the ladder itself and then on the driveway. He made it to the hospital, put he passed away a few days after the accident.
These are just two examples, but they illustrate the dangers of snow removal very well, and those who have been hurt or lost loved ones must know if they are entitled to compensation in Iowa.
Source: OSHA, “Falls and Other Hazards to Workers Removing Snow from Rooftops and Other Elevated Surfaces,” accessed Dec. 30, 2015