Working on a construction site always comes with unique risks, but the winter weather can exacerbate them. As it gets colder in New York City, you must anticipate some of the hazards that occur due to snow and ice.
Being a construction worker in the winter months can lead to serious injuries. Here are the top three winter construction accidents of which you should be aware.
1. Slips and falls
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, slips, trips or falls on the same level accounted for 82 percent of winter workplace injuries in 2014. Falling is a core reason that construction workers sustain an injury even without snow or ice added into the mix. This type of accident may result in a traumatic brain injury, head injury or spinal cord injury. Your employer should clear snow and ice from walking surfaces, spread de-icer after storms and encourage you to wear winter boots with sufficient rubber tread to prevent you from slipping and falling.
2. Excessive exposure to cold
If you are in freezing temperatures for a long period of time, you could get an injury or illness. One potential cold stress injury is frostbite, which is when your skin and underlying tissue freezes. Signs include reddened skin, skin with white or gray patches, and loss of feeling. Frostbite can result in permanent injury and amputation.
Another possibility is hypothermia, which occurs when your body temperature drops severely. Signs include uncontrollable shivering, slow heart rate and loss of coordination. Hypothermia can result in unconsciousness and even death. Your employer should make sure you dress warmly, block wind from work areas and use radiating heaters.
3. Snow removal accidents
You may need to remove snow at the construction site. If you work too hard without breaks while removing snow, you could overexert yourself and sustain a musculoskeletal injury. You could also fall while removing snow or get hit by a snow shovel. Your employer should give you frequent breaks and provide fall protection equipment to mitigate injuries.