OSHA Launches New "Winter Storms" Web Page

January 2, 2012

By: Patrick V. Melfi

Just in time for the Winter Solstice, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration ("OSHA") issued a press release on December 21, 2011, advising that the agency launched a web page devoted to hazards workers may face during winter storm response and recovery operations.

OSHA's new web page contains guidance on how employers and workers who are involved in cleanup and recovery operations can avoid injuries and illnesses related to snow storms and other weather conditions.  For example, OSHA offers advice on how to prepare a vehicle for the winter season, how to avoid back aches and heart attacks while shoveling snow, how to safely walk on ice, etc.  Industry-specific guidance on the new web page includes a section on utility workers' repair of downed or damaged power lines.

The web page also identifies several hazards that are associated with working in winter storms, including:  being struck by falling objects, such as icicles, tree limbs, and utility poles; driving accidents; carbon monoxide poisoning; dehydration, hypothermia, and frostbite; and falling while walking on slippery walkways.

The new web page also includes links to guidance from OSHA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency ("FEMA"), the American Red Cross, the National Weather Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Safety Council, and other agencies and organizations.