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Region 2 News Release: 10-1793-NEW/BOS 2010-515
Dec. 29, 2010
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: 617-565-2074

US Labor Department's OSHA reminds New York employers of hazards
associated with snow cleanup, urges proper worker safeguards

NEW YORK – In light of the recent blizzard and in anticipation of more winter storms, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration wants to remind workers, employers and the general public in New York of the hazards associated with snow removal and recovery work.

"Cleaning up after a storm encompasses a variety of tasks, each of which can carry risks if performed incorrectly or without proper safeguards," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York. "We want people to know what those risks are and what steps they can take to protect themselves against these hazards."

Common hazards can include:

-Electric shock from contact with downed power lines or the use of ungrounded electrical equipment.
-Falls from snow removal on roofs, or while working in aerial lifts or on ladders.
-Being struck or crushed by trees, branches or structures that collapse under the weight of accumulated snow.
-Carbon monoxide poisoning from gasoline-powered generators in inadequately ventilated areas or idling vehicles.
-Lacerations or amputations from unguarded or improperly operated chain saws and power tools, and improperly attempting to clear jams in snow blowers.
-Slips or falls on icy or snow-covered walking surfaces.
-Being struck by motor vehicles while working in roadways.
-Hypothermia or frostbite from exposure to cold temperatures.

Means of addressing these hazards can include:

-Assuming all power lines are energized, keeping a dis