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Four ways winter weather puts construction workers at risk

Construction workers face a high risk of injury on the job no matter what the season. But when the weather turns cold, they face additional risks that can make injury even more likely.

Slippery conditions. Ice and snow-covered walkways create the risk of slip-and-fall accidents. This risk is particularly acute for those who work on elevated scaffolding, ladders or rooftops, where a fall could lead to serious and even catastrophic injury. In the winter months, snowy and icy conditions can put highway construction workers at a high risk of being struck by a car that loses control.

Reduced visibility. Days are short during the winter months, and snowy conditions can make it difficult for workers to see hazards until it's too late. This includes accumulated snow on rooftops or other surfaces. Too often, this situation conceals dangerous conditions that can significantly increase risks for construction work that occurs at a height.

Downed power lines. In winter storm conditions, downed power lines can be more difficult to see or their danger can be underestimated while the lines appear safe as they lay on the ground.

Cold conditions. When the mercury dips, people who work outside can suffer a host of effects, from loss of dexterity to frostbite or a worsening of an existing condition like arthritis. People who use power tools with significant associated vibrations like chainsaws and drills can lose circulation in their hands from a condition called 'vibration syndrome,' in which fingers may turn white because of reduced blood flow.

If you work a construction job in cold-weather conditions, make sure you take steps to stay safe. Where possible, clear and de-ice all slippery surfaces, dress in layers, and try to work during the warmest part of the day. If you are a worker who becomes injured on the job as a result being assigned to work in weather conditions that were not safe including not being provided with the proper safety equipment and protections, then contact an attorney to discuss how we can enforce and protect your legal rights including making sure you receive the full and fair compensation you are entitled to.

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